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LEGENDARY ISLANDS 
OF THE ^^A^^ 

WILLl/VM H BABCOCk 



AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 

RESEARCH SERIES NO. 8 



LIBRARY OF 
WELLE SLEY COLLEGE 




BEQUEST OF 

Helen Goss Thomas ' 1 2 
in meiaory of 
Julia Larimer '07 



TFTO HISTORY OF ATLANTIS. By Lewis 
™ n?e. V?lth sbcte^a full-page plates 
Svo. Philadelphia. Pa.: David McKay 
Company. $3-50. . » ^, ., 

A study of th« myth of Atlantis. 

\^7 1 



LEGENDARY ISLANDS 
OF THE ATLANTIC 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium IVIember Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/legendaryislandsOObabc 



AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 

RESEARCH SERIES NO. 8 
W. L. G. JoERG, Editor 

LEGENDARY ISLANDS 
OF THE ATLANTIC 

A Study in Medieval Geography 

BY 

WILLIAM H. BABCOCK 

Author of "Early Norse Visits to North America" 




NEW YORK 

AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 
1922 





^7 



COPYRIGHT, 1922 

BY 

THE AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY 

OF NEW YORK 



wu 
B3 



THE CONDE NAST PRESS 
GREENWICH, CONN. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I Introduction i 

II Atlantis ii 

III St. Brendan's Explorations and Islands ... 34 

IV The Island of Brazil . 50 

V The Island of the Seven Cities 68 

VI The Problem of Mayda 81 

VII Greenland or Green Island 94 

VIII Markland, Otherwise Newfoundland 114 

IX ESTOTILAND AND THE OtHER IsLANDS OF ZeNO . . I24 

X Antillia and the Antilles 144 

XI CoRvo, Our Nearest European Neighbor . . . 164 

XII The Sunken Land of Buss and Other Phantom 

Islands 174 

XIII Summary 187 

Index 191 



The following chapters are reprinted, with modifications, from the 
Geographical Review: III, Vol. 8, 1919; V, Vol. 7, 1919; VI, Vol. 9, 
1920; VIII, Vol. 4, 1917; X, Vol. 9, 1920; XI, Vol. 5, 1918. 



# 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



(All illustrations, except Figs, i, IS, and 23, are reproductions of 
medieval maps. The source is indicated in a general way in each 
title; the precise reference will he found in the text where tlie map is 

first discussed.) 

FIG. PAGE 

1 Map of the Sargasso Sea, 1:72,000,000 28 

2 The Pizigani, 1367 (two sections) 40-41 

3 Beccario, 1426 facing 45 

4 Dalorto, 1325 51 

5 Catalan map, 1375 . . . y 58 

6 Nicolay, 1560 62 

7 Catalan map, about 1480 64 

8 World map in portolan atlas, about 1508 (Egerton 

MS. 2803) facing 74 

9 Desceliers, 1546 76 

10 Ortelius, 1570 77 

11 Ptolemy, 1513 82 

12 Prunes, 1553 88 

13 Coppo, 1528 97 

14 Bishop Thorlaksson, 1606 98 

15 Map of the early Norse Western and Eastern Settlements 

of Greenland, 1:6,400,000 103 

16 Clavus, 1427 104 

17 Donnus Nicolaus German us, after 1466 facing 105 

18 Sigurdr Stefansson, 1590 107 

19 Zeno, 1558 126 

20 Beccario, 1435 152 

21 Pareto, 1455 158 

22 Benincasa, 1482 160 

23 Representation of Corvo on fourteenth- and fifteenth- 

century maps as compared with its present outline . . 172 

24 Buss Island, probably 1673 176 

25 Blanco, 1436 179 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTION 

We cannot tell at what early era the men of the eastern Medi- 
terranean first ventured through the Strait of Gibraltar out on 
the open ocean, nor even when they first allowed their fancies 
free rein to follow the same path and picture islands in the great 
western mystery. Probably both events came about not long 
after these men developed enough proficiency in navigation to 
reach the western limit of the Mediterranean. We are equally in 
lack of positive knowledge as to what seafaring nation led the way. 
The weight of authority favors the Phoenicians, but there 
are some indications in the more archaic of the Greek myths 
that the Hellenic or pre-Hellenic people of the Minoan period 
were promptly in the field. These bequests of an olden time are 
most efficiently exploited, in the matter-of-fact and very credulous 
("Historical Library" of Diodorus Siculus,^ about the time of Julius 
Caesar, who feels himself fully equipped with information as to 
the far-ranging campaigns of Hercules, Perseus, and other wor- 
thies. His identifications of tribes, persons, and places find an 
echo which may be called modern in Hakluyt's map of 1587,2 
illustrating Peter Martyr, which shows the Cape Verde Islands 
as Hesperides and Gorgades vel Medusiae. But this, though 
curious, is, of course, irrelevant as corroboration. Diodorus 
himself was a long way from his material in point of time, but 
from him we may at least possibly catch some glimmer of the 
origin of the mythical narratives, some refraction of the events 
that suggested them. 

iThe Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian, in 15 Books, to which are 
added the fragments of Diodorus, and those published by H. Valesius, I. Rhodo- 
mannus, and F. Ursinus, transl. by G. Booth, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1S14; reference 
in Vol. I, Bk. 3. Ch. 4, p. 195, and Bk. 4, Ch. i, pp. 235 and 243. 

2 A. E. Nordenskidld: Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, p. 131. 



2 INTRODUCTION 

Early Accounts of Big Ships 

Small coasting, and incidentally sea-ranging, vessels must be of 
great antiquity, for the record of great ships capable of carrying 
hundreds of men and prolonging their voyages for years extends 
very far back indeed. We may recall the Scriptural item inci- 
dentally given of the fleets of Hiram, King of Tyre, and Solomon, 
King of Israel: "For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish 
with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of 
Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and pea- 
cocks."^ Tharshish is generally understood to have been Tar- 
tessus by the Guadalquivir beyond the western end of the Medi- 
terranean. The elements of these exotic cargoes indicate, rather, 
trafific across the eastern seas. No doubt "ship of Tarshish" had 
come (like the term East Indiaman) to have a secondary meaning, 
distinguishing, wherever used, a special type of great vessel of 
ample capacity and equipment, named from the long voyage 
westward to Spain, in which it was first conspicuously engaged. 
But this would carry back we know not how many centuries the 
era of huge ships sailing from Phoenicia toward the Atlantic and 
seemingly able to go anywhere; with the certainty that lesser 
craft had long anticipated them on the nearer laps of the journey 
at least. 

Corroboration is found in the utterances of a Chinese observer, 
later in date but apparently dealing with a continuing size and 
condition. "There is a great sea [the Mediterranean], and to the 
west of this sea there are countless countries, but Mu-lan-p'i 
[Mediterranean Spain] is the one country which is visited by the 
big ships. . . Putting to sea from T*o-pan-ti [the Suez of to- 
day] . . . after sailing due west for full an hundred days, one 
reaches this country. A single one of these (big) ships of theirs 
carries several thousand men, and on board they have stores of 
wine and provisions, as well as weaving looms. If one speaks of 
big ships, there are none so big at those of Mu-lan-p'i."^ 

8 I Kings, lo: 22. 

« Chau Ju-Kua: His Work on Chinese and Arab Trade in the Twelfth and 
Thirteenth Centuries Entitled Chu-fan-chI, transl. and annotated by Friedricli 
Hirth and W. W. Rockhill, St. Petersburg, 191 1, P- 142. 



THE ATLANTIS LEGEND 3 

This statement is credited to only a hundred years before 
Marco Polo. One naturally suspects some exaggeration. But a 
parallel account, nearly as expansive and very circumstantial, is 
given in the same work concerning giant vessels sailing in the 
opposite direction some six hundred years earlier. It begins: 
"The ships that sail the Southern Sea and south of it are like 
houses. When their sails are spread they are like great clouds in 
the sky." Professor H(51mes, drawing attention to these passages 
(which he quotes), very justly observes, "who shall say that the 
master^^ of the sea known to have been attained in the Orient 
500 A. D. had not been achieved long prior to that date?"^ 

The Atlantis Legend 
We may be safe in styling Atlantis (Ch. II) the earliest mythi- 
cal island of which we have any knowledge or suggestion, since 
Plato's narrative, written more than 400 years before Christ, puts 
the time of its destruction over 9,000 years earlier still. It seems 
pretty certain that there never was any such mighty and splendid 
island empire contending against Athens and later ruined by 
earthquakes and engulfed by the ocean. Atlantis may fairly be 
set down as a figment of dignified philosophic romance, owing its 
birth partly to various legendary hints and reports of seismic and 
volcanic action but much more to the glorious achievements of 
Athens in the Persian War and the apparent need of explaining a 
supposed shallow part of the Atlantic known to be obstructed 
and now named the Sargasso Sea. Perhaps Plato never intended 
that any one should take it as literally true, but his story undoubt- 
edly influenced maritime expectations and legends during medi- 
eval centuries. It cannot be said that any map unequivocally 
shows Atlantis; but it may be that this is because Atlantis van- 
ished once for all in the climax of the recital. 

Phoenician Exploration 

It may be that Phoenician exploration in Atlantic waters was 
v/ell developed before iioo B.C., when the Phoenicians are 

s W. H. Holmes: Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities, Bur. of Amer. 
Ethnology, Bull. 60, Part I, Smithsonian Instn., Washington, D. C, 19191 P- 27« 



4 INTRODUCTION 

alleged to have founded Cadiz on the ocean front of southern 
Spain; but its development at any rate could not have been 
greatly retarded after that. The new city promptly grew into 
one of the notable marts of the world, able during a long period 
to fit out her own fleets and extend her commerce anywhere. 
It is greatly to be regretted that we have no record of her dis- 
coveries. Carthage, a younger but still ancient Tyrian colony, 
farther from the scene of western action, was not less enterprising 
and in time quite eclipsed her; but at last she fell utterly, as did 
Tyre itself, whereas Cadiz, though no longer eminent, continues 
to exist. However, in her prime Carthage ranged the seas pretty 
widely; according to Diodorus Siculus, she was much at home 
in Madeira,® and her coins have been found off the shore of 
distant Corvo of the Azores. But it cannot be said that any of the 
Phoenician cities, older or newer, has left any traces of exploration 
among Atlantic islands other than these or added any mythical 
islands to maps or legends, unless through successors translating 
into another language. The crowning achievement of the Phoeni- 
cians, so far as we know, was the circumnavigation of Africa by 
mariners in the service of Pharaoh Necho some 700 years before 
Christ. This would naturally have brought them en route into 
contact with the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, and they would 
be likely to pass on to the Egyptians and Greeks a report of the 
attributes of those islands partly embodied in names that might 
adhere. 

The Greeks and Romans 

We know that the Greeks of Pythias* time coasted as far 
north as Britain and probably Scandinavia and had most Ukely 
made the acquaintance still earlier of the Fortunate Islands 
(two or more of the Canary group), similarly following downward 
the African shore. Long afterward the Roman Pliny knew Ma- 
deira and her consorts as the Purple Islands; Sertorius contem- 
plated a possible refuge in them or other Atlantic island neigh- 
bors; and Plutarch wrote confidently of an island far west of 

« Historical LibrarJ^ Vol. i, Bk. s. Ch. 2, p. 309. 



THE NORSEMEN 5 

Britain and a great continent beyond the sea where Saturn slept. 
Other almost prophetic utterances of the kind have been culled 
from classical authors, but they have mostly the air of specula- 
tion. It cannot be said that the Greeks or Romans devoted 
much energy to the remoter reaches of the ocean. 

Irish Sea-Roving 

Ireland was never subject to Rome, though influenced by 
Roman trade and culture. From prehistoric times the Irish had 
done some sea roving, as their Imrama, or sea sagas, attest; and 
this roving was greatly stimulated in the first few centuries of 
conversion to Christianity by an abounding access of religious 
zeal. Irish monks seem to have settled in Iceland before the end 
of the eighth century and even to have sailed well beyond it. 
There are good reasons for believing that they had visited most 
of the islands of the eastern Atlantic archipelagoes. We cannot 
suppose that this rather reckless persistency ended there in such 
a period of expansion. It is quite possible that we owe to this 
trait the Island of Brazil, in the latitude of southern Ireland, 
as an American souvenir on so many medieval maps (Ch. IV). 
It is certain that the "Navigatio" of St. Brendan scattered St. 
Brandan Islands, real or fanciful, over the ocean wastes of a cred- 
ulous cartography (Ch. III). 

The Norsemen 

A little later Scandinavians followed along the northern route, 
finding convenient stopping points in the Faroes and Iceland, 
discovered Greenland, and planted two settlements on its south- 
western shore in the last quarter of the tenth century (Ch. VII). 
Some of their ruins, a less number of inscriptions, and many frag- 
mentary relics and residua are found, so that we can form a good 
idea of their manner of life. Such as it was, it endured more than 
four hundred years. To contemporary and slightly later geog- 
raphy Greenland appeared most often as a far-flung promontory 
of Europe, jutting down on the western side of the great water; 



6 INTRODUCTION 

but sometimes it was thought of as an oceanic island, with greater 
or less shifting of location, and seems to be responsible for divers 
mythical Green Islands of various maps and languages. 

Less than a quarter of a century after their first landing the 
Norse Greenlanders became aware of a more temperate coast line 
to the southwest, the better part of which they called Vinland, or 
Wineland, but all of which we now name America. Perhaps 
Leif Ericsson brought the first report of it as the result of an 
accidental landfall close to the year looo A. D. Not long after- 
ward, Thorfinn Karlsefni with three ships and i6o people at- 
tempted to colonize a part of the region. The venture failed, ow- 
ing chiefly to the hostility of the Indians at the most favorable 
point. The visitors, however, made the acquaintance of the 
typical American Atlantic shore line of beach and sand dune 
which stretches from Cape Cod to the tip of Florida with one or 
two slight interruptions and one or two fragmentary minor 
northward extensions. The Norsemen or some predecessor had 
observed and named the three great zones of territory which 
must always have existed. Among investigators there has been 
general concurrence as to their discovery of Labrador and New- 
foundland, to which most would add Cape Breton Island and 
more or less of the coast beyond. It has appeared to me that they 
made their chief abode in the New World on the shore of Passa- 
maquoddy Bay behind Grand Manan Island and Grand Manan 
Channel, with the racing ocean streams of the mouth of the Bay 
of Fundy; and that they found this site inclement in winter and 
tried to remove to a land-locked bay of southern New England 
but were baffled and withdrew. My reasons have been pretty 
fully set forth in "Early Norse Visits to North America."^ For the 
present it is enough to say that the discovered regions seem some- 
times to have been thought of as a continuous coast line, some- 
times as separate islands more or less at sea. But they did not 
get upon the maps in any shape until several centuries later. 

''Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 59, No. 19, Washington, D. C, 
1913. See also: Recent History and Present Status of the Vinland Problem, Geogr. 
Rev., Vol. II, 1921, pp. 265-282. 



MOORISH VOYAGES 7 

Moorish Voyages 

The Moors who conquered Spain took up the task of Atlantic 
exploration from that coast after a time. Its islands appear in 
divers of the Arabic maps. In particular we know through 
ETdrisi,^ the most celebrated name of Arabic geography, of the 
extraordinary voyage of the Moorish Magrurin of Lisbon, who 
set out at some undefined time before the middle of the twelfth 
century to cross the Sea of Darkness and Mystery. They touched 
upon the Isle of Sheep and other islands which were or were to 
become notable in sea mythology. Perhaps these islands were 
real, but they are not capable of certain identification now. 
These Moorish adventurers seem to have reached the Sargasso 
Sea and to have changed their course in order to avoid its im- 
pediments, attaining finally what may have been one of the 
Canary Islands, where they suffered a short imprisonment and 
whence, after release, they followed the coast of Africa home- 
ward. Edrisi about 1 154 wrought a world map in silver (long lost) 
for King Robert of Sicily and also wrote a famous geography illus- 
trated by a world map and separate sectional or climatic maps. 
He devotes some space to Atlantic islands and their legends, 
shows a few of them, and believes in twenty-seven thousand; 
but the very few copies of his work which remain were made at 
different periods and in different nations, and their maps dis- 
agree surprisingly; so that it is not practicable to restore with 
certainty what he originally depicted. He seems to have had at 
least some acquaintance with the authentic island groups from 
the Cape Verde Islands to the Azores and Britain. The fantastic 
legends he appends to some of them do not seem to have greatly 
affected the prevailing European lore of that kind. 



8 Edrisi's "Geography," in two versions, the first based on two, the second on 
four manuscripts, viz. : (i) P. A. Jaubert (translator) : Geographic d'Edrisi, traduite 
de I'Arabe en Frangais, 2 vols. (Recueil de Voyages et de Memoires public par la 
Societe de Geographic, Vols. 5 and 6), Paris, 1836 and 1840; reference in Vol. 2, 
p. 27; (2) R. Dozy and M. J. De Gocje (translators): Description de rAfrique et 
de I'Espagne par Edrisi: Texte arabe public pour la premiere fois d'apres les man. 
de Paris et d'Oxford, Leiden, 1866. 



8 INTRODUCTION 

Italian Exploration 

The Italians of the thirteenth century undertook similar ex- 
plorations and temporarily occupied at least one of the Canary 
Islands, Lanzarote, which still bears, corrupted, the name of its 
Genoese invader, Lancelota Maloessel, of about 1470. On early 
fourteenth-century maps and some later ones the cross of Genoa 
is conspicuously marked on this island in commemoration of the 
exploit. It was probably at this period that Italian names were 
applied to most of the Azores and to other islands of the eastern 
groups. A few of these names still persist, for example, Porto 
Santo and Corvo; but others, after the rediscovery, gave way to 
Portuguese equivalents or substitutes. Thus Legname was 
translated into Madeira, and Li Conigi (Rabbit Island) became 
more prettily Flores (Island of Flowers). About 1285 the Geno- 
ese also sent out an expedition^ "to seek the east by way of the 
west" under the brothers Vivaldi, who promptly vanished with 
all their men. Long afterward another expedition picked up on 
the African coast one who claimed to be a survivor; and it is 
probable that the Genoese expedition attempted to sail around 
Africa but came upon disaster before it was far on its way. The 
thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italians undoubtedly added 
many islands to the maps or secured their places there; but we 
have no evidence that they passed westward beyond the middle 
of the Atlantic. 

Bretons and Basques 

The Bretons shared in the Irish monk voyages, their Saint Malo 
appearing in tradition sometimes as a companion of Saint Bren- 
dan, sometimes as an imitator or competitor. Also their fisher- 
men, with the Basques, from an early time had pushed out into 
remote regions of the sea. The Pizigani map of 1367^° (Fig. 2) 
represents a Breton voyage of adventure and disaster near one of 

» M. d'Avezac: Notice des decouvertes faites au Moyen Age dans I'Ocean At- 
lantique anterieurement aux grandes explorations portugaises du quinzieme siede, 
Paris, 184s, p. 23. 

10 [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europ6ennes et orientales .... Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 



PORTUGUESE DISCOVERY 9 

les ties fantastiques, appearing for the first time thereon. Their 
presence on the American shore in the years shortly following 
Cabot's discovery is commemorated by Cape Breton Island. 

The Zeno Story 

It has been alleged that two Venetian brothers, Antonio and 
Nicol6 Zeno, in the service of an earl of the northern islands, took 
part with him about 1400 A. D. in certain explorations west- 
ward, he being incited thereto by the report of a fisherman, who 
claimed to have spent many years as a castaway and captive in 
regions southwest of Greenland. The Zeno narrative, dealt with 
later (Ch. IX), was accompanied by a map (Fig. 19), which 
exercised a great influence during a long period on all maps that 
succeeded it, adding several islands never before heard of. Both 
map and narrative are recognized as spurious or at best so cor- 
rupted by misunderstandings and transformed by rough treat- 
ment and a post-Columbian attempt at reconstruction as to-be 
wholly unreliable. It is, indeed, possible that a fisherman of the 
Faroes made an involuntary sojourn in Newfoundland and else- 
where in America from about 1375 or 1380 onward and that his 
story induced the ruler of certain northern islands to sail west- 
ward and investigate. But both features are very dubious, and 
at any rate nothing was accomplished except the confusion of 
geography. 

Portuguese Discovery 

This brings us down to the rise of Portuguese nautical en- 
deavor, which seems to have begun earlier than has generally 
been supposed but became most conspicuous under the direction 
of Prince Henry the Navigator. Its achievements included the 
rediscovery of Madeira and the Azores, which in many quarters 
had been forgotten, the exploration of the African coast, the 
accidental discovery or rediscovery of South American Brazil by 
Cabral, and the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India around the 
Cape of Good Hope. Perhaps we might insert in the list the 
discovery of Antillia. At any rate, it got on the map with a 



10 INTRODUCTION 

Portuguese name in the first half of the fifteenth centurj^ and 
several other islands accompanied it. They all certainly seem 
to be American and West Indian. 

Columbus, Vespucius, and Cabot 

Incidentally the Portuguese activity stimulated the enthu- 
siasm of Columbus, guided his plans, and contributed to the em- 
inent success of his great undertaking. In Antillia it provided a 
first goal, which he believed to be nearer than it really was. He 
fully meant to attain it and probably really did so, but without 
recognizing Antillia in Cuba or Hispaniola, for he thought he had 
missed it on the way and left it far behind. Vignaud insists that 
Columbus did not aim at Asia until after he actually reached the 
West Indies but sought to attain Antillia only.^^ However this 
may be, there is no doubt that he found in the island a notable 
prompting to his supreme adventure. 

The discoveries of Columbus, Vespucius, and Cabot, with 
their immediate followers, heralded the opening of an effective 
knowledge of the western world and the ocean world to the 
centers of civilization. Thereafter the delineation of new islands 
did not cease but for a long time rather multiplied ; yet they had 
little significance or importance, being chiefly the products of 
fancy, optical illusion, or error in reckoning. One of the latest 
worth considering is the island of Buss (Ch. XII), reported where 
there is no land by a separated vessel of Frobisher's expedition 
near the end of the sixteenth century. Afterward it was known 
as the Sunken Land of Bus, or Buss, to the grave concern of 
mariners. 

We are reasonably secure against such imposition now, though 
perhaps it is not yet impossible. The old mythical or apocryphal 
islands, too, are gone from standard maps and most others, 
though you may yet find in cartographic work of little authority 
one or two of the more tenacious specimens making a final stand. 

" Henry Vignaud: The Columbian Tradition on the Discovery of America and 
of the Part Played Therein by the Astronomer Toscanelli, Oxford, 1920. 



CHAPTER II 
ATLANTIS 

About 2,300 years ago Plato wrote of a great and populous 
island empire in the outer (Atlantic) ocean, which had warred 
against Athens more than 9,000 years before his time and been 
suddenly engulfed by a natural cataclysm. According to his 
statement of the case this prodigious phenomenon, with all the 
splendor of national achievement that shortly preceded it, liad 
been quite forgotten by the Athenians; but the tradition was 
recorded in the sacred books of the priests of Sais at the head of 
the Nile delta and was related by these Egyptians to Solon of 
Athens when he visited them apparently somewhere near 
550 B. C. Solon embodied it, or began to embody it, in a poem 
(all trace of which is lost) and also related it to Dropides, his 
friend. It is probably to be understood that he further commu- 
nicated it to this friend in some written form, for we find Critias 
in a dialogue with Socrates represented by Plato as declaring: 
"My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which 
is still in my possession."^ If so, it has vanished. 

Elements of Fact and Fancy in Plato's 
Tale of Atlantis 

It is evident that the Atlantis tale must be treated either as 
mainly historical, with presumably some distortions and exag- 
gerations, or as fiction necessarily based in some measure (like all 
else of its kind) on living or antiquated facts. Certainly no one 
will go the length of accepting it as wholly true as it stands. But, 
even eliminating all reference to the god Poseidon and his plen- 
tiful demigod progeny, we are left with divers essential features 

1 Benjamin Jowett: The Dialogues of Plato, Translated into English with 
Analyses and Introductions, 3rd edit., 5 vols., London and New York, 1892; 
reference in Vol. 3. P- 534. 



12 ATLANTIS 

which credulity can hardly swallow. Atlantis is too obviously an 
earlier and equally colossal Persia, western instead of eastern, 
overrunning the Mediterranean until checked by the intrepid 
stand of the great Athenian republic. The supreme authentic 
glory of Athens was the overthrow of Xerxes and his generals. 
Had this been otherwise we must believe that we should not 
have heard of the baffled invasion by Atlantis. Again, we are 
asked to accept Athens, contrary to all other information, as a 
dominant military state more than 9,500 years before Christ, 
when presumably its people, if existent, were exceedingly primi- 
tive and unformidable. Moreover, the sudden submergence of so 
vast a region as the imagined Atlantis would be an event without 
parallel in human annals, besides being pretty certain to leave 
marks on the rest of the world which could be recognized even 
now. 

The hypothesis of fiction seems reasonably well established. 
We must remember that Plato did not habitually confine himself 
to bare facts. His favorite method of exposition was by reporting 
alleged dialogues between Socrates and various persons — dia- 
logues which no one could have remembered accurately in their 
entirety. It is recognized that in arrangement, characters, and 
utterance he has contrived to convey his own theories and con- 
ceptions as well as those of his revered teacher and leader, so that 
it is often impossible to say whether we should credit certain views 
or statements mainly to Plato or to Socrates. Possessed by his 
meditations, he would even present as an instructive example 
and incitement a fancied picture of an elaborate system of social 
and political organization, chiefly the product of his own brain. 
He did this in the "Republic" and apparently had planned a 
larger partly parallel work of the kind in the triology of which 
the "Timaeus" and the fragmentary "Critias" are the first part 
and the unfinished second. A writer (Lewis Campbell) in the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica, article "Plato," states the case very 
clearly. 

What should have followed this [the Timaeus], but is only commenced 
in the fragment of the Critias, would have been the story, not of a fall, 



FACT AND FANCY IN PLATO'S TALE 13 

but of the triumph of reason in humanity. . . Not only the Timaeus, 
but the unfinished whole of which it forms the introduction, is professedly 
an imaginative creation. For the legend of prehistoric Athens and of 
Atlantis, whereof Critias was to relate what belonged to internal policy 
and Hermocrates the conduct of the war, would have been no other than a 
prose poem, a "mythological lie," composed in the spirit of the Republic, 
and in the form of a fictitious narrative. ^ 

Jowett takes substantially the same view in his introduction to 
the "Critias," indicating surprise at the innocent, literal, matter- 
of-fact way in which the former existence and destruction of 
great Atlantis have generally been accepted as sober declarations 
of fact and accounted for in divers fashions accordingly. Nor is 
this estimate of the Atlantis tale as primarily a romance of en- 
lightenment and uplifting a merely modern theory. Plutarch, in a 
passage quoted by Schuller, lays more stress on Plato's tendency 
to adorn the subject, treating Atlantis as a delightful spot in some 
fair field unoccupied, than on ennobling imagination, and avers 
the described magnificence to be "such as no other story, fable, or 
poem ever had."^ But this, whether wholly adequate or no, 
surely emphasizes the recognition of romance. Plutarch adds a 
word of regret that Plato began the "delightful" story late in life 
and died before the work was completed. The precise motive of 
the fiction is only of minor importance to our present inquiry. 
It seems hardly possible that the development of the composition 
in the remaining two parts of the trilogy could have given it a 
more authentic historical cast. As the matter stands Atlantis is 
rather succinctly reported in the "Timaeus," more fully and with 
mythological and architectural adornments in the later "Critias" 
till it breaks off in the middle of a sentence ; but the two accounts 
are consistent. It seems a clear case of evolution suddenly ar- 
rested but allowing us fairly to infer the character of the whole 
from the parts that remain. 

If there were any corroboration of the tale, it would count on 
the historical side; but it seems to be agreed that Greek literature 

2 Encyclopaedia Britannica, nth edit.. Vol. 21, p. 823. 

8 Atlantis, the "Lost" Continent: A Review of Termier's Evidence, Geogr. Rev., 
Vol. 3, 1917, pp. 6r-66; reference on p. 62. 



14 ATLANTIS 

and art before Plato do not supply this in any unequivocal and 
reliable form. Certain hints or contributory items will be dealt 
with below, but they do not affect the character of the story as a 
whole nor tend to establish the reality of its main features. 

We do not need to ascribe to Plato all the fancy and invention 
in the story. The romancing may have been done in part by the 
priests of Sais or by Solon or by Dropides or by Critias; or pos- 
sibly all these may have contributed successive strata of fancy, 
crowned by Plato. Practically we have to treat the tale as 
beginning with him. Its circumstantiality and air of realism 
have sometimes been taken as credentials of accuracy; but they 
are not beyond the ordinary skill of a man of letters, and Plato 
was much more than equal to the task. 

Significant Passages from the Tale 

The Atlantis narrative has been so often translated and copied, 
at least as to its more significant parts, that one hesitates to 
quote again; but there are certain items to which attention 
should be drawn, and brief extracts are the best means of ef- 
fecting this. The following passages are from the Smithsonian 
translation of Termier's remarkable paper on Atlantis repro- 
duced by that institution. It differs verbally from the transla- 
tion by Dr. Jowett but not in the broader features. Of the two 
quotations the first is from the "Critias." It is briefer than 
the other, though forming part of a more elaborate and extended 
account of the island. Taking his appointed part in the dialogue, 
Critias says: 

According to the Egyptian tradition a common war arose 9,000 years 
ago between the nations on this side of the Pillars of Hercules and the 
nations coming from beyond. On one side it was Athens; on the other the 
Kings of Atlantis. We have already said that this island was larger than 
Asia and Africa, but that it became submerged following an earthquake 
and that its place is no longer met with except as a sand bar which stops 
navigators and renders the sea impassable.* 

* Pierre Termier: Atlantis (transl. from Bull. I' Inst. OcSanogr. No. 256, Monaco) , 
Ann. Rept. Smithsonian Instn. for 1915, Washington, D. C, pp. 219-234; reference 
on p. 222. 



SIGNIFICANT PASSAGES 15 

Termier quotes also from the "Timaeus" dialogue (Critias is 
repeating the statement of the Egyptian priests) : 

The records inform us of the destruction by Athens of a singularly 
powerful army, an army which came from the Atlantic Ocean and which 
had the effrontery to invade Europe and Asia; for this sea was then navi- 
gable, and beyond the strait which you call the Pillars of Hercules there 
was an island larger than Libya and even Asia. From this island one could 
easily pass to other islands, and from them to the entire continent which 
surrounds the interior sea ... In the Island Atlantis reigned kings of 
amazing power. They had under their dominion the entire island, as 
well as several other islands and some parts of the continent. Besides, on 
the hither side of the strait, they were still reigning over Libya as far as 
Egypt and over Europe as far as the Tyrrhenian. All this power was once 
upon a time united in order by a single blow to subjugate our country, 
your own, and all the peoples living on the hither side of the strait. It 
was then that the strength and courage of Athens blazed forth. By the 
valor of her soldiers and their superiority in the military art, Athens was 
supreme among the Hellenes; but, the latter having been forced to aban- 
don her, alone she braved the frightful danger, stopped the invasion, piled 
victory upon victory, preserved from slavery nations still free, and 
restored to complete independence all those who, like ourselves, Uve on 
this side of the Pillars of Hercules. Later, with great earthquakes and 
inundations, in a single day and one fatal night, all who had been warriors 
against you were swallowed up. The Island of Atlantis disappeared 
beneath the sea. Since that time the sea in these quarters has become 
unnavigable; vessels can not pass there because of the sands which extend 
over the site of the buried isle.^ 

We have said that all fiction has some root in reality. Even a 
myth is commonly an attempted explanation of some mysterious 
natural phenomenon or distorted narrative of obscure, nearly 
forgotten happenings. Intentional fiction, try as it may, cannot 
keep quite clear of facts. We turn, then, to those salient features 
of the above excerpts which may in a measure stand for real past 
events or puzzling conditions supposed to continue. Beside the 
prehistoric grandeur and triumph of Athens, already dealt with, 
these are to be noted: the Atlantean invasion of the Mediter- 
ranean; the vastness of the outer island which sent forth these 

* Ibid., pp. 220-221. 



i6 ATLANTIS 

armies; its submergence; and the alleged continued obstruction 
to navigation in that quarter. 

Atlantean Invasion of the Mediterranean 

There seem to have been some rumors afloat of very early 
hostilities between dwellers on the shores of the Mediterranean 
and those beyond the Pillars of Hercules. That geographical 
name bears witness to the supposed exertion of Greek dominant 
power at the very gateway of the Atlantic, and the legend con- 
necting this demigod with Cadiz carries his activities a little 
farther out on the veritable ocean front. The rationalizing Dio- 
dorus, writing in the first century before Christ but dealing freely 
with traditions from a very much earlier time, presents Hercules 
as a great military commander, who, having set up his memorial 
pillars, proceeded to overrun and conquer Iberia (the present 
Spain and Portugal), passing thence to Liguria and thence to 
Italy after the manner of Hannibal, much nearer to Diodorus 
and even better known.^ It is evident that the earlier part of this 
campaign must include warfare beyond the Pillars on at least the 
Lusitanian Atlantic front. Furthermore, we are introduced to 
the western Amazons, who had their center of power on the 
Island Hesperia between Mount Atlas and the ocean and invaded 
both the inland mountaineers and their seaboard neighbors, the 
Gorgons — also feminine, if no great beauties.'^ The poor Gorgons 
were subjugated but long afterward developed power again under 
Queen Medusa, only to be disastrously overcome by the great 
Greek general, Perseus. Both the Gorgons and the western 
Amazons seem to have had their abodes on the shores of the 
Atlantic Ocean south of the Strait of Gibraltar, along the front of 
what we now call Morocco and the region south of it. We cannot 
say how much of these tales belongs to Diodorus; but he cer- 
tainly did not invent the whole of them and is not likely to have 

•The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in 13 Books, to which are 
added the fragments of Diodorus, and those published by H. Valesius, I. Rhodo- 
mannus, and F. Ursinus, transl. by G. Booth, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1814; reference 
in Vol. I, Bk. 4, Ch. i, p. 234. 

7 Ibid., Vol. I, Bk. 3, Ch. 4, p. iqS- 



LOCATION AND SIZE OF ATLANTIS 17 

contrived their most distinctive features. The myth of Perseus, 
like that of Theseus and the Minotaur, meant something dimly 
and distantly historic. We think we partly understand the latter 
after the excavations in Crete. Similarly, the flights and feats of 
Perseus, as given in mythology, may be another way of saying 
that he made swift voyages far afield and descended on his 
enemies with deadly execution. 

These tales as we have them from Diodorus do not represent 
the Atlantic coast dwellers as invading the Mediterranean; but 
some such incursions would naturally follow, by way of retalia- 
tion, the strenuous proceedings attributed to eastern-Mediter- 
ranean commanders, if, indeed, they did not precede and provoke 
them. We need not picture a host of Atlantides pouring through 
between the Pillars; but piratical descents of outer seafaring 
people were probable enough and might be on a rather large 
scale — subject, of course, to exaggeration by rumor. Nor would 
any of the threatened people be likely to distinguish closely be- 
tween forces from a mainland coast and those from some out- 
lying island. The enemy might well embody both elements. 

Location and Size of Atlantis 

The location of Atlantis, according to Plato, is fairly clear. 
It was in the ocean, "then navigable," beyond the Pillars of 
Hercules; also beyond certain other islands, which served it as 
stepping-stones to the continental mass surrounding the Mediter- 
ranean. This effectually disposes of all pretensions in behalf of 
Crete or any other island or region of the inner sea. Atlantis must 
also have lain pretty far out in the ocean, to allow space for the in- 
tervening islands, which may well have been, at least in part, the 
Canary Islands or other surviving members of the eastern Atlan- 
tic archipelagoes; still it could not have been too distant to pro- 
hibit the transfer of large forces when means of transportation 
were slow and scant. This rules out America, apart from the fact 
that America (like Crete) still exists, whereas Atlantis foundered, 
and the further fact that America is continental, while Atlantis is 
described as merely a large island. Besides, what evidence is there 



i8 ATLANTIS 

that America could send forth armies or navies for the invasion 
of Europe? Neither the Incas nor the Aztecs nor the Mayas were 
capable of such aggressions, and we know of nothing greater 
in this part of the world before the very modern development of 
the white man's power. 

As to the size of Atlantis, it is not quite clear whether we are 
to compare it with Mediterranean Africa and Asia Minor indi- 
vidually or collectively. Probably Plato merely meant to indi- 
cate a great area without any exact conception of its extent. 
If we think of an island as large as France and Spain we shall 
probably not miss the mark very widely. The site of the mid- 
Atlantic Sargasso Sea would be about the location indicated. 

Improbability of the Existence of Such an Island 

Now, was there any such great island and populous magnificent 
kingdom in mid-Atlantic or anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean about 
11,400 years ago? If not absolutely impossible, it seems at least 
very unlikely. Through the mouth of Critias Plato tells how the 
people of Atlantis employed themselves in constructing their 
temples and palaces, harbors and docks, a great palace which 
they continued to ornament through many generations, canals 
and bridges, walls and towns, numerous statues of gold, fountains 
both cold and hot, baths, and a great multitude of houses.^ 

Such advance in civilization, such elaboration of organization, 
such splendor and power would certainly have overflowed abun- 
dantly on the islands intervening between Atlantis and the con- 
tinental shore. It is not written that these all shared the same 
fate; and in point of fact the Azores, Madeira and her consorts, 
the Canary Islands, and the Cape Verde group are still in evi- 
dence. Some of them must have been within fairly easy reach of 
Atlantis if Atlantis existed. There is no indication that they 
have been newly created or have come up from below since that 
time. Even allowing for great exaggeration and assuming only a 
large and efficient population in a vast insular territory without 

s Jowett, op. cit.. Vol. 3. PP- 536-539- 



TERMIER'S THEORY 19 

the ascribed superfluity of magnificence, such a people would 
surely have left some kind of lasting memorial or relic beyond 
their own borders. Nothing of the kind has ever been found 
either in these islands of the eastern Atlantic archipelagoes or 
elsewhere in that part of the earth. 

The advocates of a real Atlantis try to pile up proofs of a great 
land mass existing at some time in the Atlantic Ocean, a logical 
proceeding so far as it goes but one that falls short of its mark, for 
the land may have ascended and descended again ages before the 
reputed Atlantis period. It is of no avail to demonstrate its 
presence in the Miocene, Pliocene, or Pleistocene epoch, or, in- 
deed, at any time prior to the development of a well organized 
civilization among men, or, as Plato apparently reasons, between 
11,000 and 12,000 years ago. Also what is wanted is evidence of 
the great island Atlantis, not of the former seaward extension of 
some existing continent nor of any land bridge spanning the 
ocean. It is true that such conditions might serve as distant pre- 
liminaries for the production of Atlantis Island by the breaking 
down and submergence of the intervening land; but this only 
multiplies the cataclysms to be demonstrated and can have no 
real relevance in the absence of proof of the island itself. The 
geologic and geographic phenomena of pre-human ages are be- 
side the question. The tale to be investigated is of a flourishing 
insular growth of artificial human society on a large scale, not so 
very many thousands of years ago, evidently removed from all 
tradition of engulfment and hence dreading it not at all but 
sending forth its conquering armies until the final defeat and 
annihilating cataclysm. 

Termier's Theory of an Ancient Atlantic 
Continental Mass 

Nevertheless, inquiries as to an ancient Atlantic continental 
mass have an interest. We may cite a few of the recent outgiv- 
ings. Termier tells us of an east-and-west arrangement of ele- 
vated lands across the Atlantic in earlier ages, as opposed to the 



20 ATLANTIS 

present north-and-south system of islands and raised folds. By 
the former there was 

a very ancient continental bond between northern Europe and North 
America and . . . another continental bond, also very ancient, between 
the massive Africa and South America. . . Thus the region of the 
Atlantic, imtil an era of ruin which began we know not when, but the end 
of which was the Tertiary, was occupied by a continental mass, bounded 
on the south by a chain of mountains, and which was all submerged long 
before the collapse of those volcanic lands of which the Azores seem to be 
the last vestiges. In place of the South Atlantic Ocean there was, likewise, 
for many thousands of centuries a great continent now very deeply en- 
gulfed beneath the sea.' 

Later he refers to 

collapses ... at the close of the Miocene, in the folded Mediterra- 
nean zone and in the two continental areas, continuing up to the final 
annihilation of the two continents . . . then, in the bottom of the 
immense maritime domain resulting from these subsidences, the appear- 
ance of a new design whose general direction is north and south. . . 
The extreme mobility of the Atlantic region . . . the certainty of the 
occurrence of immense depressions when islands and even continents 
have disappeared; the certainty that some of these depressions date as 
from yesterday, are of Quaternary age, and that consequently they might 
have been seen by man; the certainty that some of them have been sud- 
den, or at least very rapid. See how much there is to encourage those who 
still hold out for Plato's narrative. Geologically speaking, the Platonian 
history of Atlantis is highly probable. ^"^ 

Floral and Faunal Evidence of Connection with Europe 

AND Africa 

Professor Schuchert, reviewing the paper of Termier above 
quoted, agrees in part and partly disagrees. He says: 

The Azores are true volcanic and oceanic islands, and it is almost cer- 
tain that they never had land connections with the continents on either 
side of the Atlantic Ocean. If there is any truth in Plato's thrilling 
account, we must look for Atlantis off the western coast of Africa, and here 
we find that five of the Cape Verde Islands and three of the Canaries have 
rocks that are unmistakably like those common to the continents. Tak- 
ing into consideration also the living plants and animals of these islands, 

• Termier, pp. 228-229. 
10 Ibid., pp. 230, 231. 



CONNECTION WITH EUROPE AND AFRICA 21 

many of which are of European-Mediterranean affinities of late Tertiary 
time, we see that the evidence appears to indicate clearly that the Cape 
Verde and Canary Islands are fragments of a greater Africa. . . 
What evidence there may be to show that this fracturing and breaking 
down of western Africa took place as suddenly as related by Plato or that 
it occurred about 10,000 years ago is as yet unknown to geologists.^^ 

Termier puts in evidence as biological corroboration the re- 
searches of Louis Germain, especially in the moUusca, which 
have convinced him of the continental origin of this fauna in the 
four archipelagoes, the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries, and Cape 
Verde. He also notes, a few species still living in the Azores and 
the Canaries, though extinct in Europe, but found as fossils in 
Pliocene rocks of Portugal. He deduces from this a connection 
between the islands and the Iberian Peninsula down to some 
period during the Pliocene.^^ 

Dr. Scharff has devoted some space and assiduous effort to 
similar considerations. He reviews the insular flora and fauna, 
pointing out that some of the forms common to the islands, or 
some of them, and a now distant continent could hardly have 
reached there over sea. He comes to the following conclusion: "I 
believe they .[the islands] were still connected, in early Pleistocene 
times, with the continents of Europe and Africa, at a time when 
man had already made his appearance in western Europe, and 
was able to reach the islands by land."^^ 

He also points out that the Azores Islands were first known and 
named for their hawks, which feed largely on small mammalia, 
that presumably would have come thither overland, and also 
points out that some of the islands were named in Italian on old 
maps Rabbit Island, Goat Island, etc., before the Portuguese re- 
discovery in the fifteenth century .^^ Those names (on several 
fifteenth-century maps St. Mary's is Louo, Lovo, or Luovo — 
'Wolf Island," cf. Portuguese loho) are certainly interesting, 

" Geogr. Rev., Vol. 3, 1917, p. 65. 

12 Termier, pp. 231 and 232. 

" R. F. ScharfF: Some Remarks on the Atlantis Problem, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., 
Vol. 24, Section B, 1903, pp. 268-302; reference on p. 297. 

" Idem: European Animals: Their Geological History and Geographical Distri- 
bution, London and New York, 1907, pp. 102 and 104. 



22 ATLANTIS 

but they may have been given for some supposed resemblance 
of outline or other fancy. There is this in favor of Dr. Scharflf's 
supposition : the name Corvo in its original form Corvis Marinis 
(Island of the Sea Crows) appears to have been prompted by the 
abundance of birds of a particular species — possibly cormorants, 
possibly black skimmers — and not by any typical bird form 
of the island itself. Also Pico, now named for its peak, was called 
the Isle of the Doves, and wild doves or pigeons are said to abound 
still on its mountain side. But, if we assume by analogy that Li 
Conigi (Rabbit Island) and Capraria (Goat Island) were so 
named by reason of the pre-Portuguese wild rabbits and goats, 
these may be the donations of earlier visitants or settlers — Italian, 
Carthaginians, or what not. We cannot well believe that wolves 
were voluntarily brought by man to Lovo (Lobo), now St. 
Mary's; but here there may have been some mistake, as of dogs 
run wild or some play of imitative fancy, as before indicated. In 
any case these archaic island names are a long way from being 
convincing evidence of former land connection with any conti- 
nent, still less of the former existence of Atlantis. 

More recently Navarro, in an argument mainly geological, has 
also called attention to the continental character of some species 
of the fauna and flora of the eastern Atlantic islands, with the 
same implications as his predecessors.^^ But there seems to be 
little real addition to the evidence of this nature; and no one has 
made it more apposite to the existence of Atlantis Island 12,000 
or so years ago. 

Evidence of Submergence 
The great final catastrophe of Atlantis would surely write its 
record on the rocks both of the sea bed and the continental land 
masses. As to the ocean bottom it would be the natural repository 
for vitreous and other rocky products of volcanic and seismic ac- 
tion occurring above it. Termier relates what he considers very 
significant indications at a point 500 miles north of the Azores at 

15 L. F. Navarro: Nuevas consideraciones sobre el problema de la Atlantis, 
Madrid, 1917, pp. 6 and 15 (extract from Rev. Real Acad, de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas 
y Naturales de Madrid, Vol. 15, 1917, pp. 537-552). 



EVIDENCE OF SUBMERGENCE 23 

a depth of 1,700 fathoms, where the grappling irons of a cable- 
mending ship dragged for several days over a mountainous sur- 
face of peaks and pinnacles, bringing up "little mineral splinters" 
evidently "detached from a bare rock, an actual outcropping 
sharp-edged and angular." These fragments were all of a non- 
crystalline vitreous lava called tachylyte, which "could solidify 
into this condition only under atmospheric pressure." He infers 
that the territory in question was covered with lava flows while 
it was still above water and subsequently descended to its present 
depth; also from the general condition of the rock surface that 
the caving in followed very closely on the emission of the lavas 
and that this collapse was sudden. He thinks, therefore, "that 
the entire region north of the Azores and perhaps the very region 
of the Azores, of which they may be only the visible ruins, was 
very recently submerged, probably during the epoch which the 
geologists call the present." He believes also that like results 
would follow a "detailed dredging to the south and the southwest 
of these islands."^® 

It will be observed that the whole of this very tempting edifice 
is built on the declared impossibility of tachylyte forming on the 
sea bottom under heavy water pressure. But Professor Schuchert 
insists that: "It is not pressure so much as it is a quick loss of 
temperature that brings about the vitreous structure in lava. 
In other words, vitreous lava apparently can be formed as well 
in the ocean depths as on the lands. What the cable layers got 
was probably the superficial glassy crust of probable subter- 
ranean lava flows."^^ If that be so, there is, of course, no need to 
infer a descent of territory into the depths in that region of the 
mid-Atlantic. This tachylyte matter seems enveloped in uncer- 
tainty. 

On the other hand, it is well known that volcanic outbursts 
and earthquakes have been rather frequent and alarming even 
in modern times among the islands of the eastern Atlantic archi- 
pelagoes, especially the Canaries and the lowest and middle 

15 Termier, pp. 226 and 227. 

" Geogr. Rev., Vol. 3, 19 17, p. 66. 



24 ATLANTIS 

groups of the Azores. In some instances the nearest mainland 
also has suffered, as notably on "Lisbon-earthquake day," and the 
various occasions of disturbances cited by Navarro. Also, there 
is the memorable instance of a small island that was thrust up- 
ward from the depths before the eyes of a British naval ship's 
crew and remained in sight for several days. Changes of a dis- 
tinctly non-volcanic character have also occurred, as when an 
appreciable slice of cliff wall broke away from Flores and sank, 
raising a great wave which did damage, with loss of life on Corvo, 
some nine miles away. Moreover, Corvo was once considerably 
larger than it is now in comparison with this neighbor, Flores (or 
Li Conigi) , if we may trust to the general testimony of fourteenth- 
century and fifteenth-century maps. But all these shiftings and 
transformations for a long time past have been local and usually 
rather narrowly restricted. It does not follow that no depressions 
or elevations of greater extent have suddenly occurred in times 
before men regularly made permanent records; yet it must be 
owned that the belief in any very large sunken Atlantis derives 
no direct support from what we actually know of volcanic and 
seismic action in that region in historic centuries. 

Relation of the Submarine Banks of the North Atlantic 

TO the Problem 
There remain to be considered a small array of undersurface 
insular items which seem germane to our inquiry. Sir John Mur- 
ray tells us that: 

Another rerrarkable feature of the North Atlantic is the series of sub- 
merged cones or oceanic shoals made known off the northwest coast of 
Africa between the Canary Islands and the Spanish peninsula, of which 
we may mention: the "Coral Patch" in lat. 34° 57' N., long. 11° 57' W., 
covered by 302 fathoms; the "Dacia Bank" in lat. 31° 9' N., long. 13° 34' 
W., covered by 47 fathoms; the "Seine Bank" in lat. 33° 47' N., long. 14° 
i' W., covered by 81 fathoms; the "Concepcion Bank" in lat. 30° N. and 
long. 13° W., covered by 88 fathoms; the "Josephine Bank" in lat. 37° 
N., long. 14° W., covered by 82 fathoms; the "Gettysburg Bank" in lat. 
36° N., long. 12 W., covered by 34 fathoms. ^^ 

*8 Sir John Murray: The Ocean: A General Account of the Science of the Sea 
(Home University Library of Modern Knowledge, No. 76), New York, 1913, p. 33. 



SUBMERGENCES IN HISTORIC TIMES 25 

All of these subaqueous mountain-top lands or hidden elevated 
plateaus are conspicuously nearer the ocean surface than the real 
depths of the sea — so much nearer that they inevitably raise the 
suspicion of having been above that surface within the knowledge 
and memory of man. It is notorious that coasts rise and fall all 
over the world in what may be called the normal non-spasmodic 
action of the strata, and sometimes the movement in one direc- 
tion — upward or downward — seems to have persisted through 
many centuries. If we assume that Gettysburg Bank has been 
continuously descending at the not extravagant rate of two feet 
in a century, then it was a considerable island above water about 
the period dealt with by the priests of Sais. Apparently the rising 
of Labrador and Newfoundland since the last recession and dis- 
persion of the great ice sheet has been even more. Here the ele- 
ments of exact comparison in time and conditions are lacking; 
nevertheless, the reported uplift of more than 500 feet in one 
quarter and nearly 700 in another is impressive as showing what 
the old earth may do in steady endeavor. It must be borne in 
mind, too, that a sudden acceleration of the descent of Gettys- 
burg Bank and its consorts may well have occurred at any stage 
in so feverishly seismic an area. All considered, it seems far from 
impossible that some of these banks may have been visible and 
even habitable at some time when men had attained a moderate 
degree of civilization. But they would not be of any vast extent. 

Facts and Legends As to Submergences in Historic Times 

Westropp has made an interesting and important disclosure of 
the legends of submerged lands with villages, churches, etc., all 
around the coasts of Ireland. In some instances they are believed 
to be magically visible again above the surface in certain condi- 
tions; in others the spires and walls of a fine city may at times, it is 
thought, be still seen through clear water. Nearly, if not quite, 
every one of them coincides with a shoal or bank of no great 
depth, the upjutting teeth of rocks, or a barren fragmentary islet 
— ^vestiges perhaps of something more conspicuous, extended, and 
alluring. Westropp says: "When we examine the sea bed, we see 



26 ATLANTIS 

that it is not impossible (save Brasil and the land between Teelin 
and the Stags of Broadhaven) that islands may have existed 
wdthin traditional memory at all the alleged sites."^^ In some 
cases considerable inroads of the ocean are perfectly well known 
to have occurred within relatively recent historic centuries. The 
same on a large scale is certainly true of Holland — witness 
Haarlem Lake and the Zuyder Zee. Other countries, perhaps 
most countries, might be called as witnesses. 

In these considerations of known facts and legends still re- 
peated we are dealing mostly with events of periods not exces- 
sively remote, but the same laws must have been at work and the 
same phenomena occurring in earlier millenniums. 

If there were men to observ^^e, the legend would follow the 
subsidence; and Phoenician or other voyagers would naturally 
bear it back to the Eastern Mediterranean, to Plato or the 
sources from which Plato derived it. 

In any such case the submergence would most likely be exag- 
gerated and made a great catastrophe, but there were special 
reasons why the exaggeration should be enormous in this par- 
ticular story. It is the office of a myth or legend to explain. We 
see that in Plato's time the Atlantic Ocean was believed, in part 
at least, to be no longer navigable, and with some modifications 
this idea persisted far down into the Middle Ages, involving at 
least a conviction of abnormal obstacles hardly to be overcome. 
The account of Critias is: "Since that time the sea in those quar- 
ters has become unnavigable; vessels cannot pass there because 
of the sands which extend over the site of the buried isle." This 
item differs from the other features of the narration put into his 
mouth by Plato, in that it related to a present and continuing 
condition and in a way challenged investigation — which would 
have to be at a distant and ill-known region but was not really 
impracticable. It must be evident that Plato would not have 
^^Titten thus unless he relied on the established general repute of 
that part of the ocean for difficulty of navigation. 

19 T. J. Westropp: Brasil and the Legendary Islands of the North Atlantic: 
Their History and Fable, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13. PP- 
223-260; reference on p. 249. 



OBSTRUCTION TO NAVIGATION 27 

Reports of Obstruction to Navigation in Early Times 

We get further light on this matter of obstruction from the 
Periplus of Scylax of Caryanda, the greater part of which must 
have been written before the time of Alexander the Great. Prob- 
ably we may put down the passage as approximately of Plato's 
own period. He begins on the European coast at the Strait of 
Gibraltar, makes the circuit of the Mediterranean, and ends at 
Cerne, an island of the African Atlantic coast, "which island, it is 
stated, is twelve days' coasting beyond the Pillars of Hercules, 
where the parts are no longer navigable because of shoals, of 
mud, and of seaweed."^'' "The seaweed has the width of a palm 
and is sharp towards the points, so as to prick."^! 

Similarly, when Himilco, parting from Hanno, sailed north- 
ward on the Atlantic about 500 B. C., he found weeds, shallows, 
calms, and dangers, according to the poet Avienus, who pro- 
fesses to repeat his account long afterward and is quoted by 
Nansen, with doubts inclining to acceptance. It reads: 

No breeze drives the ship forward, so dead is the sluggish wind of this 
idle sea. He [Himilco] also adds that there is much seaweed among the 
waves, and that it often holds the ship back like bushes. Nevertheless, 
he says that the sea has no great depth, and that the surface of the 
earth is barely covered by a little water. The monsters of the sea move 
continually hither and thither, and the wild beasts swim among the 
sluggish and slowly creeping ships.^^ 

Avienus also has the following: 

Farther to the west from these Pillars there is boundless sea. Himilco 
relates that . . . none has sailed ships over these waters, because pro- 
pelling winds are lacking . . . likewise because darkness screens the 
light of day with a sort of clothing, and because a fog always conceals the 
sea.23 

*o E. L. Stevenson: portolan Charts, Pubis. Hispanic Soc. of Amer. No. 82, New 
York, 191 1, pp. 5-6. 

"^^ A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early Histor^'^ of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, p. 8. 

22 Fridtjof Nansen: In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, 
transl. by A. G. Chater, 2 vols.. New York, 191 1; reference in Vol. i, p. 38. 

^ Ibid., pp. 40-41. 



28 



ATLANTIS 




i5 « 



SARGASSO SEA AS ATLANTIS 29 

Aristotle, as cited by Nansen, tells us In his "Meteorologica" 
that the sea beyond the Pillars of Hercules was muddy and shal- 
low and little stirred by the winds.^^ In early life Aristotle was a 
pupil of Plato, and, though he afterward developed a widely 
different method and outlook, it is likely that their information as 
to this matter was in common, being supplied perhaps by Phoe- 
nician and other seamen. 

In the passage quoted from Scylax and the first excerpt from 
Avienus the courses referred to are apparently too near the main- 
land shore to approach that prodigious accumulation of eddy- 
borne weeds in dead water which has long given to a great space 
of mid-Atlantic the name of the Sargasso Sea. But they show that 
huge seaweeds were very early associated with obstruction to 
navigation in seafaring minds and popular fancy. Perhaps they 
may also have suggested shallows as affording beds of nourish- 
ment for so enormous an output of vegetation. It would not 
readily occur to the early seagoing observers that the greatest of 
these entangling creations floated in masses quite free, though we 
now know this to be the case. In any event, it is evident that 
some imperfect knowledge of conditions far west of the Pillars of 
Hercules had made its way to Greece. Somewhere In that ocean 
of obscurity and mystery there was a vast dead and stagnant 
sea, presumably shallow, a sea to be shunned. Gigantic entrap- 
ping weeds and walloAving sea monsters freely distributed were 
recognized, too, as among the standing terrors of the Atlantic. 

The Sargasso Sea As the Ancient Atlantis 

It would be idle and wearying to follow such utterances through 
the rather numerous centuries that have elapsed since those early 
times. When the Magrurin or deluded explorers of Lisbon, at 
some undefined time between the early eighth century and the 
middle of the twelfth attempted, according to Edrisi, to cross the 
great westward Sea of Darkness they encountered an impassable 
tract of ocean and had to change their course, apparently reach- 

" Nansen, In Northern Mists, p. 41. 



30 ATLANTIS 

ing one of the Canary Islands. Later the map of the Pizigani 
brothers of 1367 ^^ (Fig. 2) contains in words and a saintly figure of 
warning a solemn protest against attempting to sail the unnavi- 
gable ocean tract beyond the Azores. As will be seen by a modern 
map (Fig. i), this area includes the vast realm of the Sargasso — a 
waste of weed, shifting its borders with the seasons but constant 
in its characteristics in some parts and always to be found by little 
seeking — one of the permanent conspicuous features of earth's 
surface.^ It is described by a ^VTiter in the Encyclopaedia Bri- 
tannica as nearly equal to Europe in area, a statement hardly 
warranted unless by including all outlying tatters and fringes of 
Gulf weed floating free.^^ 

It is one of the topics that tempt and have always tempted ex- 
aggeration and misunderstandings. The effect on a bright mind 
of current nautical yams concerning it is shown by Janvier's 
"In the Sargasso Sea," a narrative almost as extravagant as 
Plato's tale of Atlantis, in its own quite different way. One of the 
more moderate preliminary passages may be cited : 

And to that same place, he added, the stream carried all that was 
caught in its current — like the spar and plank floating near us, so that 
the sea was covered with a thick tangle of the weed in which were held 
fast fragments of wreckage and stuff washed overboard and logs adrift 
from far southern shores, until in its central part the mass was so dense 
that no ship could sail through it nor could a steamer traverse it because of the 
fouling of her screws. ^^ 

25 [E. F.l Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales .... Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 

2s J. C. Soley: Circulation of the North Atlantic in February and in August 
[sheet of text with charts on the reverse]. Supplement to the Pilot Chart of the 
North Atlantic Ocean for 1912, Hydrographic Office, Washington, D. C. 

Otto Kriimmel: Die nordatlantische Sargassosee, Petermanns Mitt., Vol. 37, 
1891, pp. 129-141, with map. 

Gerhard Schott: Geographie des Atlantischen Ozeans, Hamburg, 1912, pp. 
162-164 and 268-269, Pis. 16 and 26. 

27 Kriimmel (paper cited in footnote 26) suggests applying the name Sargasso Sea 
to the area limited by the curve of 5 per cent probability of occurrence on his map 
(our Fig. i). This area amounts to 4,500,000 square kilometers, or somewhat less 
than half the area of Europe. Schott (see footnote 26), p. 140, gives 8,635,000 square 
kilometers as the area of his natural region Sargasso Sea, which is based not only on 
the occurrence of gulfweed but also on the prevailing absence of currents and on the 
relatively high temperature of the water in all depths. — Edit. Note. 

28 T. A. Janvier: In the Sargasso Sea, New York, 1896, p. 26. 



SARGASSO SEA AS ATLANTIS 31 

He admits this theory of formation was inaccurate but later 
refers to "the dense wreck-filled center of the Sargasso Sea" and 
makes his castaway hero declare : 

What I looked at was the host of wrecked ships, the dross of wave and 
tempest which through four centuries has been gathering slowly and still 
more slowly wasting in the central fastnesses of the Sargasso Sea. 2* 

Sir John Murray naturally gives a more moderate and scien- 
tific account, explaining: 

The famous Gulf Weed characteristic of the Sargasso Sea in the North 
Atlantic belongs to the brown algae. It is named Sargassum bacciferum, 
and is easily recognized by its small berry-like bladders. ... It is 
supposed that the older patches gradually lose their power of floating, 
and perish by sinking in deep water .... The floating masses of Gulf 
Weed are believed to be continually replenished by additional supplies 
torn from the coasts by waves and carried by currents until they accumu- 
late in the great Atlantic whirl which surrounds the Sargasso Sea. They 
become covered with white patches of polyzoa and serpulae, and quite a 
large number of other animals (small fishes, crabs, prawns, molluscs, 
etc.) live on these masses of weed in the Sargasso Sea, all exhibiting re- 
markable adaptive coloring, although none of them belong properly to 
the open ocean. ^o 

Finally we have from the Hydrographic Office the official naval 
and scientific statement of the case. In the little treatise already 
referred to, Lieutenant Soley tells us that the southeast branch 
of the Gulf Stream "runs in the direction of the Azores, where it is 
deflected by the cold upwelling stream from the north and runs 
into the center of the Atlantic Basin, where it is lost in the dead 
water of the Sargasso Sea."^^ As to just what this is the office 
answers: 

Through the dynamical forces arising from the earth's rotation which 
cause moving masses in the northern hemisphere to be deflected toward 
the right-hand side of their path, the algae that are borne by the Gulf 
Stream from the tropical seas find their way toward the inner edge of the 
circulatory drift which moves in a clockwise direction around the central 
part of the North Atlantic Ocean. In this central part the flow of the 

29 Ibid., p. 27. 

'0 Murray, pp. 140-141. 

31 Soley, column 2, lines 3-5. 



32 ATLANTIS 

surface waters is not steady in any direction, and hence the floating sea- 
weed tends to accumulate there. This accumulation is perhaps most ob- 
servable in the triangular region marked out by the Azores, the Canaries 
and the Cape Verde Islands, but much seaweed is also found to the west- 
ward of the middle part of this region in an elongated area extending to 
the 70th meridian. 

The abundance of seaweed in the Sargasso Sea fluctuates much with 
the variation of the agencies which account for its presence, but this Office 
does not possess any authentic records to show that it has ever materially 
impeded vessels. ^^ 

Perhaps these statements are Influenced by present or recent 
conditions. It is obvious that giant ropelike seaweeds in masses 
would more than materially impede the action of the galley oars, 
which were the main reliance in time of calm of the ancient and 
medieval navigators. Also it is hardly to be believed that small 
sailing vessels could freely drive through them with an ordinary 
wind. If the weeds were so unobstructive, why all these com- 
plaints and warnings out of remote centuries? In the days of 
powerful steamships and when the skippers of sailing vessels 
have learned what area of sea it is best to avoid, there may well 
be a lack of formal reports of impediment; but it certainly looks 
as though there were some basis for the long established ill repute 
of the Sargasso Sea. 

Summary 

For the genesis of Atlantis we have then, first, the great idealist 
philosopher Plato minded to compose an instructive pseudo- 
historical romance of statesmanship and war and actually making 
a beginning of the task; and, secondly, the fragmentary cues and 
suggestive data which came to him out of tradition and mariners' 
tales, perhaps in part through Solon and intervening transmit- 
ters, in part more directly to himself. Of this material we may 
name foremost the vague knowledge of vast impeded regions in 
the Atlantic believed to be shallow and requiring a physical ex- 
planation; then rumors of cataclysms and sunken lands in the 
same ocean; then legends of ancient hostilities between dwellers 

32 Reprint of Hydrographic Information: Questions and Answers, No. 2, June 
2, 19 10, Hydrographic Office, Washington, D. C, p. 17. 



SUMMARY 33 

beyond the Pillars of Hercules and the peoples about the Mediter- 
ranean ; and finally the reflection of the Persian war on the shad- 
owy ancient past of Athens — ^Athens the defender and victor, 
Athens the Queen of the Sea. 

Every solution of the Atlantis problem must be conjectural. 
The above is offered simply as the best conjecture to which I can 
see my way 



CHAPTER III 

ST. BRENDAN'S EXPLORATIONS AND ISLANDS 

The Lismore Version of the Saint's Adventures 

The fifteenth-century Book of Lismore, compiled from much 
older materials, tells us that St. Brenainn (evidently St. Bren- 
dan, the navigator) 

desired to leave his land and his country, his parents and his fatherland, 
and he urgently besought the Lord to give him a land secret, hidden, 
secure, delightful, separated from men. Now after he had slept on that 
night, he heard the voice of the angel from heaven, who said to him, 
"Arise, O Brenainn," saith he, "for God hath given thee what thou 
soughtest, even the Land of Promise" . . . and he goes alone to 
Sliab Daidche and he saw the mighty intolerable ocean on every side, 
and then he beheld the beautiful noble island, with trains of angels 
(rising) from it.^ 

Thus far, in the rather redundant style of such literature, from 
the Life of Brenainn in the Lives of the Saints of this old manu- 
script. After a century and a half of disappearance this manu- 
script was accidentally discovered in 1814, in a walled-up recess, 
by workmen engaged on repairs. 

Mr. Westropp holds that this Lismore version is the "sim- 
plest and probably the earliest;"^ but its full-blown development 
of certain marvels (such as the spending of every Easter for at 
least five years on the back of a vast sea monster as a substitute 
for an island) may well awaken a question as to the validity of 
this conjecture. 

However, the suggestion of the voyage by a dream seems likely 
enough, and his mood was in keeping with the anchorite enthu- 

1 Anecdota Exoniensia: Lives of the Saints, from the Book of Lismore, edited, 
with a translation, notes, and indices, by Whitley Stokes, Oxford, 1890, p. 252. 

2T. J. Westropp: Brasil and the Legendary Islands of the North Atlantic: Their 
History and Fable, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13, pp. 223- 
260; reference on p. 230. 



ORIGIN OF BRENDAN NARRATIVES 35 

siasm of his time. Of course he promptly set forth to find his 
"promised land;" at first, in a hide-covered craft, with failure in 
spite of long endeavor; afterward, by advice of a holy woman, in 
a large wooden vessel, built in Connaught and manned by sixty 
religious men, with final success. 

Another Version 

Another version gives the credit of the first incitement to a 
purely human visitor, a friendly abbot, St. Brendan's aim being 
to reach an island "just under Mount Atlas." Here a holy 
predecessor, Mernoc by name, long vanished from among men, 
was believed to have hidden himself in "the first home of Adam 
and Eve." To all readers this was a fairly precise location for the 
earthly paradise. The great Atlas chain forms a conspicuous 
feature of medieval maps, running down to sea (as it does in 
reality) near Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the innermost of the 
Canaries, which seem like detached, nearly submerged, summits 
of the range. 

This narrative is longer and more detailed than that of the 
Book of Lismore and gives more plentiful indications of voyaging, 
especially toward the end, in southern seas. In its picture of vol- 
canic fires it recalls occasional outbursts of TenerifTe and its 
neighbors. "They saw a hill all on fire, and the fire stood on each 
side of the hill like a wall, all burning." A visit is also recorded 
to a neighboring land, apparently continental, which the adven- 
turers penetrated for forty days' travel to the banks of a magical 
river, whence they brought away "fruit and jewels." This may 
well be meant for Africa, obviously quite near these Fortunate 
Islands. 

Attempts to Explain the Origin of the Brendan 
Narratives 

It has been intimated that the narratives of "St. Brendan's 
Navigation" may have originated in misunderstood tales of his 
early sea wanderings around the coasts of Ireland seeking for a 
monastery site. He was successful in this at least, being best 



36 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

known (excepting as a discoverer) for the great religious estab- 
lishment at Clonfert, not the first which he founded in the sixth 
century but the most widely known and the greatest. 

Another explanation casts doubts upon his real existence and 
supposes the story of the discoveries to have arisen by confusion 
of language with the well-known pagan "Voyage of Bran," per- 
haps the earliest of the ancient Irish Imrama, or sea sagas. 

It has also been said that the origin of the Brendan narratives 
may be found in "a ninth-century sermon elaborated up to its 
present form by the eleventh century."^ A ninth-century manu- 
script is said to be in the Vatican library. 

A Norman French Version 

A Norman French translation was turned into Norman French 
verse by some trouvere of the court for the benefit of King Henry 
Beauclerc and his Queen Adelais early in the twelfth century and 
partly translated metrically into English for Blackwood's Maga- 
zine in 1836. It avers that the saint set sail for an 

Isle beyond the sea 
Where wild winds ne'er held revelry. 
But fulfilled are the balmy skies 
With spicy gales from Paradise; 
These gales that waft the scent of flowers 
That fade not, and the sunny hours 
Speed on, nor night, nor shadow know.^ 

They sail westward fifteen days from Ireland; then in a 
month's calm drift to a rock, where they find a palace with food 
and where Satan visits them but does no harm. They next voyage 
seven months, in a direction not stated, and find an island with 
immense sheep; but, when they are about to cook one, the island 
begins to sink and reveals itself as a "beast." They reach another 
island where the birds are repentant fallen angels. From this they 
journey six months to an island with a monastery founded by St. 
Alben. They sail thence till calm falls on them and the sea be- 

^Westropp, Brasil, p. 229. 

*The Anglo-Norman Trouveres of the 12th and 13th Centuries, Blackwood's 
Edinburgh Mag., Vol. 39, 1836, pp. 806-820; reference on p. 808. 



PROBABLE BASIS OF FACT 37 

comes like a marsh; but they reach an island where are fish 
made poisonous by feeding on metallic ores. A white bird warns 
them. They keep Pentecost on a great sea monster, remaining 
seven weeks. Then they journey to where the sea sleeps and cold 
runs through their veins. A sea serpent pursues them, breathing 
fire. Answering the saint's prayer, another monster fights and 
kills the first one. Similarly a dragon delivers them from a griffin. 
They see a great and bright jeweled crystal temple (probably an 
iceberg). They land on shores of smoke, flame, blast, and evil 
stench. A demon flourishes before them, flies overhead, and 
plunges into the sea. They find an island of flame and smoke, a 
mountain covered with clouds, and the entrance to hell. Beyond 
this they find Judas tormented. Next they find an island with a 
white-haired hermit, who directs them to the promised island, 
where another and altogether wonderful holy man awaits them, 
of whom more anon. 

In this version, as in others, there are passages — such as the 
mention of extreme cold and the account of a great floating struc- 
ture of crystal — which imply a northward course for their voyage 
in some one of its stages. So greatly was Humboldt impressed by 
this and by the insistence on the Isle of Sheep, which he identified 
with the Faroes, that he restricted in theory the saint's naviga- 
tion to high latitudes.^ 

The Probable Basis of Fact 

But it is noticeable that every version gives St. Brendan the 
task of finding a remote island, which was always warm and 
lovely, and chronicles the attainment of this delight, though he 
finds other delectable islands near it or by the way. The metrical 
description before quoted is surely explicit enough, but the Book 
of Lismore outdoes it in a very revel of adjectives. As though 
praises alone failed to satisfy the celebrant, he introduces the 
figure of a holy ungarmented usher — a living demonstration of 

• Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la glographie du 
nouveau continent et des progres de Tastronomie nautique aux quinzieme et 
seizieme siecles, s vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, p. 166. 



38 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

the benignity of the climate. He was "without any human rai- 
ment, but all his body was full of bright white feathers like a dove 
or sea mew; and it was almost the speech of an angel that he 
had." "Vast is the light and fruitfulness of the island," he cried 
in welcome and launched forthwith on a prodigal expenditure of 
superextoUing words outpoured on their new delightful home. It 
is all perfectly in keeping with the glow and luxuriance of sun- 
warmed shores and the unique airiness of his spontaneous rai- 
ment. Clearly "summer isles of Eden," and nothing that has to 
do with icebergs or wintry blasts, are called for in this case. 

About six centuries lie between St. Brendan's experiences and 
the earliest writing purporting to relate them and generally 
accepted as to date. Doubtful manuscripts and miscellaneous 
allusions — ^also often doubtful — may lessen the gap; but at best 
we have several centuries bridged by tradition only, and that 
rather inferred than known. It seems likely that he really 
visited and enjoyed some remote lovely islands, not very often 
reached from the mainland, such as could in any age have been 
discovered among the eastern Atlantic archipelagoes. In doing 
so he might well meet with surprising adventures, readily dis- 
torted and magnified; and the first tales of them would be basis 
enough for the florid fancy of Celtic and medieval rorhancers, 
growing in extravagance with passing generations. 

The Cartographic Evidence 

That he found some island or islands was certainly believed, 
for his name is on many maps in full confidence. But as to the 
particular islands thereby identified we find that conjecture had 
a wide range, varying in different periods and even with indi- 
vidual bias. 

The Hereford Map of circa 1275 

Probably its first appearance is on the Hereford map of 1275 
or not much later,® the inscription being "Fortunate Insulae sex 

8 R. D. Benedict: The Hereford Map and the Legend of St. Brandan, Btill. Amer. 
Geogr. Soc, Vol. 24, 1892, pp. 321-365; reference on p. 344- 



HEREFORD MAP OF CIRCA 1275 39 

sunt Insulae Set Brandani." It is about on the site of the Canary 
group, and the elHptical island Junonia is just below. The show- 
ing is uncertain and conventional ; also the number six misses the 
mark by one; still there can be no doubt that the Canaries as a 
whole were intended. Concerning them Edrisi'^ had observed, 
about 1 1 54: "The Fortunate Islands are two in number and are 
in the Sea of Darkness." Perhaps he had Lanzarote and Fuerte- 
ventura, the most accessible pair, especially in mind. The 
surviving derivatives of the last eighth-century Beatus map* also 
bear the inscription "Insulae Fortunate" where the Canary 
Islands should be, but they assert nothing of "St. Brandan." 
Doubtless, dimly known, they had been reputed Isles of the Blest 
from prehistoric times. If St. Brendan found them, he found 
them already the "Fortunate Isles." 

A tradition long survived — perhaps survives still — in the 
Canary archipelago supporting this identification by the Here- 
ford map. Thus Father Espinosa,^ who long dwelt in TenerifTe 
and wrote his book there between 1580 and 1590, avers that St. 
Brendan and his companions spent several years in that archi- 
pelago and quotes a still earlier "calendar," date not given, as 
authority for their mighty works done there "in the time of the 
Emperor Justinian." Even as late as the eighteenth century an 
expedition sailed from among them for an island believed to be 
outside of those already known and to be the one discovered by 
St. Brendan. 

' Edrisi's "Geography," in two versions, the first based on two, the second on four 
manuscripts, viz.: (i) P. A. Jaubert (translator): Geographic d'Edrisi, traduite de 
I'Arabe en Frangais, 2 vols. (Recueil de Voyages et de Memoires public par la Societe 
de Geographic, Vols. 5 and 6), Paris, 1836 and 1840; reference in Vol. 2, p. 27; 
(2) R. Dozy and M. J. De Goeje (translators): Description de I'Afrique et de 
I'Espagne par Edrisi: Texte arabe public pour la premiere fois d'apres les man. de 
Paris et d'Oxford, Leiden, 1866. 

8 Konrad Miller: Die Weltkarte des Beatus (776 n. Chr.), with facsimile of one 
derivative, Heft i of his "Mappaemundi: Die altesten Weltkarten," Stuttgart, 1895. 
The 9 other derivatives on Pis. 2-9 of Heft 2 (Atlas von 16 Lichtdrucktafeln. 
Stuttgart, 1895). 

9 The Guanches of Tenerife: The Holy Image of Our Lady of Candelaria and the 
Spanish Conquest and Settlement, by the Friar Alonso de E^pinosa of the Order 
of Preachers, translated and edited, with notes and an introduction, by Sir Clements 
Markham, Hakluyt Soc. Pubis., 2nd Ser., Vol. 21, London. 1907, p. 29. 



40 



ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 




HEREFORD MAP OF CIRCA 1275 



41 




42 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

The Dulcert Map of 1339 

The second cartographical appearance of the saint's name 
seems to be in the portolan map^^ of Angelinas Dulcert, the 
Majorcan, dated 1339, where three islands corresponding to 
those now known as the Madeiras (Madeira, Porto Santo, and 
Las Dezertas) and on the same site are labeled "Insulle Sa 
Brandani sine puelan." Since "u" was currently substituted for 
"v," and "m" and "n" were interchangeable on these old maps, the 
last two words should probably be read "sive puellam." How- 
ever the ending of the inscription be interpreted, there can be no 
doubt about St. Brendan and his title to the islands — according 
to Dulcert. And that this island group must be identified with 
Madeira and her consorts (though Madeira is named Capraria 
and Porto Santo is named Primaria) hardly admits of any ques- 
tion. 

If the identification of them with the Fortunate Islands espe- 
cially favored by St. Brendan were no more than a conjecture of 
Dulcert or some predecessor, it still had a certain plausibility 
from the facts of nature and the favorable report of antiquity. 
Strabo may have borne these islands in mind when he wrote : "the 
golden apples of the Hesperides, the Islands of the Blessed they 
speak of, which we know are still pointed out to us not far 
distant from the extremities of Maurusia, and opposite to Ga- 
des."^^ Apparently, too, Diodorus Siculus, writing half a century 
or so before the Christian era about what happened a thousand 
years earlier still, means Madeira by the "great island of very 
mild and healthful climate" and "in great part mountainous but 
much likewise champaign, which is the most sweet and pleasant 
part of all the rest;"^^ whereto the Phoenicians were storm-driven 

^0 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, Stockholm, 1897. PI- 8. 

" The Geography of Strabo, literally translated with notes: the first six books by 
H. C. Hamilton, the remainder by W. Falconer, 3 vols., H. C. Bohn, London, 1854- 
57; reference in Vol. i, p. 226. 

12 The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian, in 15 Books, to which are 
added the fragments of Diodorus, and those published by H. Valesius, L Rhodo- 
mannus, and F. Ursinus; transl. by G. Booth, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1814; 
reference in Vol. i, Bk. 5, Ch. 2, pp. 308-309. 



MAP OF THE PIZIGANI OF 1367 43 

after founding Cadiz and which the Etrurians coveted but 
the Carthaginians planned to hold for themselves. Even since 
those old days there has been a general recognition of Madeira's 
balminess and slumberous, flowery, enticing beauty. 

The Map of the Pizigani of 1367 

Divers maps of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries do not 
contain the name of St. Brendan (it is perhaps never spelled 
Brendan in cartography) and hence do not count either way. 
But the identification of the notable map of 1367 of the brothers 
Pizigani'^^ (Fig. 2) is the same as Dulcert's, the inscription being 
also given in the alternative. Like many oceanic features of this 
strange production it is by no means clear, but seems to read 
"Ysole dctur sommare sey ysole pone +le brandany." Perhaps it 
is to be understood as the "islands called of slumber or the islands 
of St. Brandan." There is at any rate no doubt about the last 
word or its meaning. But, as if to place the matter beyond all 
question, a monkish figure, generally accepted as that of the 
saint himself, is depicted bending over them in an attitude of 
benediction. 

This map evidently does not copy from Dulcert, for the forms, 
proportions, and individual names of the islands all differ. It 
calls the chief island Canaria, instead of Capraria or the later 
Madeira, and appends a longer name, which seems like Capirizia, 
to what have long been known as Las Dezertas, which appear 
greatly enlarged on it. Porto Santo is left unnamed on the map, 
perhaps because it lies so close to the general name of the group. 

First Use of "Porto Santo" as Name of One 
OF the Madeiras 

A claim has been set up by the Portuguese that Porto Santo 
(Holy Port) was first applied to this island by their rediscoverers 
of the next century in honor of their safe arrival after peril, but 
this is abundantly confuted by its presence on divers fourteenth- 
is (E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographie, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeerines et orientales . . . , Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 



44 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

century maps, notably the Atlante Mediceo" of 1351. Also the 
Book of the Spanish Friar/^ dating from about the middle of that 
century, contains in his enumeration of islands the words 
"another Desierta, another Lecname, another Puerto Santo." 
It would seem to have been a familiar appellation about 1350 
or earlier, and the suggestion naturally occurs that it may have 
originated in the tradition of the visit and blessing of the Irish 
saint. At any rate, the Portuguese, in the fifteenth-century re- 
discovery, can have had nothing to do with conferring it. 

Animal and Bird Names of Islands 

Concerning such names as Canaria, Capraria, etc., which, by 
reason of other associations, appear oddly out of place in this 
group, the more general question is raised of the tendency to 
apply animal and bird names to Eastern Atlantic islands. Goat, 
rabbit, dog, falcon, dove, wolf, and crow were applied to various 
islands long before the Portuguese visited the Madeiras and 
Azores, finding them untenanted; these names long held their 
ground on the maps, and some of them are in use even now. The 
reason for their adoption piques one's curiosity. If they could be 
taken as throwing any light on the fauna of these islands in 1350, 
they might also instruct us as to the probability of prior human 
occupancy or previous connection with the mainland. But, of 
course, in any significant instances some fancied resemblance of 
aspect may have suggested the name. 

Madeira 

Madeira, meaning island of the woods or forest island, is a 
direct Portuguese translation from the Italian "I. de Legname" 

1* Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio 5 (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano- 
Gaddiano dell' anno 135 1), PI. 4. 

" Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are 
in the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the 
Kings and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle 
of the 14th century, published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jim€nez de la 
Espada in 1877, translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyt Soc. 
Pubis., 2nd Ser., Vol. 29, London, 1912; reference on p. 29. 



BECCARIO MAP OF 1426 45 

of the Atlante Mediceo and various later maps, and of the 
"Lecname" of the unnamed Spanish friar who tells us he was born 
in 1305. It is sufficiently explained by the former condition of the 
island, the northern part of which is said to preserve still its 
abundant woodland. Perhaps the modern name of Madeira 
(or Madera) first appears on the map of Giraldi of 1426,^^ not 
very long after the rediscovery. But, with some cartographers, 
the Italian form of the name lingered on much later. 

The Beccario Map of 1426 

The alternative names, which had been given the Madeira 
group by Dulcert and the Pizigani, commemorating both the 
general fact of repose or blessedness and the delighted visit of 
St. Brendan, were closely blended (in what became the accepted 
formula) by the 1426 map of Battista Beccario, which unluckily 
had never been published in reproduction. Before the war, how- 
ever, the writer obtained a good photograph of a part of it from 
Munich and herewith presents a section recording the words 
"Insulle fortunate santi brandany" (Fig, 3).^^ The first "a" of the 
final name may possibly be an "e," having been obscured by one 
of the compass lines; but I think not. Beccario repeats the same 
inscription in his very important and now well-known map^^ 
of 1435, substituting "sancti" for "santi" by way of correction. 

With no serious variations, this name, "The Fortunate Islands 
of St. Brandan" (or Brendan), is applied to Madeira and her 
consorts by Pareto (1455;^^ Fig. 21), Benincasa (i482;20 Fig, 22), 
the anonymous Weimar map formerly attributed to 1424 but 

16 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di 
Venezia dell'anno 1426), PI. 4. 

" First published by the author in the Geogr. Rev., Vol. 8, 1919, PI- it facing p. 40. 

*8 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche 
d'ltalia. Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici suUa Storia della 
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geo- 
graphical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 187s; 
reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 

19 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir 
die Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in 
atlas, PL 5. 

20 Ihid., atlas, PL 4. 



46 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

probably of about 1480 or 1490,21 and divers others. In several 
instances (the Beccario maps, for example) the words are almost 
as near to the most southerly pair of the Azores, next above them, 
as to the Madeiras below, and it is possible that the condition of 
special beatitude was understood as extending to the former also. 

The Bianco Map of 1448 

At any rate, the verdict of the fifteenth century for Madeira 
was by no means unanimous. The 1448 map of Bianco,^^ which is 
very unlike his earlier one of 1436 so far as concerns the Atlantic, 
was prepared after all the Azores had been found again by the 
Portuguese except Flores and Corvo. It shows the old familiar 
inaccurately north-and-soutb string of the three groups of the 
Azores as they had come to him conventionally and traditionally, 
for evidently he did not dare or could not bring himself to discard 
them. But it also shows a slanting array of islands farther out, 
arranged in two groups respectively of two islands and five islands 
each and much more accurately presented as to location and di- 
rection than the old Italian stand-bys. These are quite clearly the 
Portuguese version, brought down to that date, of the newly re- 
discovered Azorean archipelago. But Bianco was obviously put 
to it to conjecture what islands these might be. He drew names 
from miscellaneous sources : in particular the largest island of the 
main group, corresponding to Terceira, bears the title "y^ fortunat 
de sa. beati blandan." Nevertheless, he shows and names Ma- 
deira, Porto Santo, and Deserta in their usual places. Evidently 
he had given up, if he ever held, all thought of annexing St. 
Brendan's special blessing to them. He seems very confident of 
the St. Brandan's Island of his slanting series, for it is drawn 
heavily in black and contrasts with the rather ghastly aspect of 
some neighbors. It has nearly the form of a Maltese cross, with 
long arms, but there is no reason to suppose that this has any 
significance. 

21 W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum- 
bus, Proc. iQth Internatl. Congr. of Americanists held at Washington, Dec. 27-31, 1915, 
[Smithsonian Institution], Washington, D. C, I9i7i PP- 469-478; map on p. 476. 

» Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 11, Pis. 3 and 4.j~* 



BEHAIM'S GLOBE OF 1492 47 

Behaim's Globe of 1492 

About the same period a Catalan map^^ of unknown author- 
ship, without copying details, adopted the same expedient of 
duplicating the Azores by adding the new slanting series. It is 
quite independent in details, however, omitting mention of 
"St. Brandan" in particular, though Ateallo (Antillia?) is given 
in the second group but not in the corresponding place. This 
may possibly indicate some confusion of Antillia with St. Bran- 
dan's Island, such as is more evident in the transfer of the tradi- 
tional outline of the former to the latter, little changed, by Be- 
haim on his globe of 1492. 

As it stands, this globe undoubtedly gives an original and 
unique representation of St. Brandan's Island far west of the 
Cape Verde group and emphasizes it by showing Antillia inde- 
pendently in a more northern latitude and less western longitude 
and also of quite insignificant size and form. But Ravenstein, 
who made a very thorough study of the matter, tells us^^ that 
this globe has been twice retouched or renovated and that the 
only way to ascertain exactly what was originally delineated is 
to treat it as a palimpsest and remove the accretions. In particu- 
lar, he relates the story of an expert geographer who found the 
draftsmen about to transpose St. Brandan's Island and Antillia; 
but they yielded to his protest. Of course, it is impossible to be 
quite certain that these map figures are such and in such place 
as Behaim intended or that they bear the names he gave. The 
presumption favors the present showing, generally accepted as 
authentic. It gives the saint only one island, but this a very large 
one, set in mid-ocean between Africa and South America. 

Possibly this location may be suggested by an undefined coast 
line shown by Bianco's map of 1448, previously mentioned, and, 
like Behaim's island, set opposite the Cape Verde group. In 
Venetian Italian it bears an obscure inscription, which calls it 
an "authentic island" and is variously interpreted as saying that 

'a Ibid., Portfolio 13, PI. S- 

2* E. G. Ravenstein: Martin Behaim, His Life and His Globe, London, 1908, p. 
59- 



48 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS 

this coast is fifteen hundred miles long or fifteen hundred miles 
distant. The map of Juan de la Cosa (1500)^^ exhibits off the coast 
of Brazil, and with an outline similar to Behaim's, "the island 
which the Portuguese found." His date is too late to have influ- 
enced Behaim, too early to have been prompted by Cabral's 
accidental discovery of that very year. It is more likely that he 
and Behaim both were acquainted with Bianco's work or that all 
three drew from the same report of discovery. 

Later Maps 

From this time on there is never more than one island for St. 
Brendan, but it indulges in wide wanderings. Especially as the 
attention of men was attracted to the more northern and western 
waters, the map-makers shifted the island thither. Thus the map 
of 1544, purporting to be the work of Sebastian Cabot and prob- 
ably prepared more or less under his influence, ^^ places the island 
San Brandan not far from the scene of his father's explorations 
and his own. It lies well out to sea in about the latitude of the 
Straits of Belle Isle. The Ortelius map of 1570^^ (Fig- 10) repeats 
the showing with no great amount of change. In short, the final 
judgment of navigators and cartographers, before the island quite 
vanished from the maps, made choice of the waste of the North 
Atlantic as its most probable hiding place. Perhaps this west- 
ward tendency in rather high latitudes may be partly responsible 
for the hypotheses in recent times which have taken the explorer 
quite across to interior North America on a missionary errand. 
There is certainly nothing to prohibit any one from believing 
them, if he can and if it pleases him. 

Conclusion 

In general review it appears likely that St. Brendan in the 
sixth centur>'' wandered widely over the seas in quest of some 

23 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 7. 

2« S. E. Dawson: The Voyages of the Cabots in 1497 and 1498; With an Attempt 
to Determine Their Landfall and to Identify Their Island of St. John, Trans. 
Royal Soc. of Canada, Vol. 12, Section II, 1894; map on p. 86. The map is also 
reproduced by Jomard, in the work cited in footnote 13. 

2' A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile- Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham. Stockholm, 1889, PI. 46. 



CONCLUSION 49 

warm island, concerning which wonderful accounts had been 
brought to him, and found several such isles, the Madeira group 
receiving his special approval, according to the prevailing opinion 
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But this judgment of 
those centuries is the only item as to which we can speak with any 
positiveness and confidence. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

So far as we know, the first appearance of the island of Brazil 
in geography was on the map of Angellinus Dalorto,^ of Genoa, 
made in the year 1325. There it appears as a disc of land of 
considerable area, set in the Atlantic Ocean in the latitude of 
southern Ireland (Fig. 4). But the name itself is far older. In 
seeking its derivation, one is free to choose either one of two 
independent lines. 

Probable Gaelic Origin of the Word "Brazil" 

The word takes many forms on maps and in manuscripts: 
as Brasil, Bersil, Brazir, O'Brazil, O'Brassil, Breasail. As 
a personal name it has been common in Ireland from ancient 
days. The "Brazil fierce" of Campbell's "O'Connor's Child" may 
be recalled by the few who have not wholly forgotten that 
beautiful old-fashioned poem. Going farther back, we find 
Breasail mentioned as a pagan demigod in Hardiman's "History 
of Galway"^ which quotes from one of the Four Masters, who 
collated in the sixteenth century a mass of very ancient material 
indeed. iVlso St. Brecan, who shared the Aran Islands with 
St. Enda about A.D. 480 or 500, had Bresal for his original name 
when he flourished as the son of the first Christian king of Thor- 
mond. The name, however spelled, is said to have been built 

1 Alberto Magnaghi: La carta nautica costruita nel 1325 da Angelino Dalorto, 
with facsimile, Florence, 1898 (published on the occasion of the Third Italian Geo- 
graphical Congress). Cf. also: idetn: II mappamondo del genovese Angellinus de 
Dalorto (1325): Contributo alia storia della cartografia mediovale, A«i del Terzo 
Congr. Geogr. Italiano, tenuto in Firenzi dal 12 al 17 Aprile, i8g8, Florence, 1899, 
Vol. 2, pp. 506-543; and idem: Angellinus de Dalorco isic), cartografo italiano della 
prima meta del secolo XIV, Riv. Geogr. Italiana, Vol. 4, 1897, pp. 282-294 and 361- 
369. 

2 James Hardiman: The History of the Town and County of Galway frota the 
Earliest Period to the Present Time, Dublin, 1820, p. 2. 



ORIGIN OF WORD "BRAZIL" 



51 




Fig. 4 — Section of the Dalorto map of 1325 showing Brazil, Daculi, and other 
legendary islands. (After Magnaghi's photographic facsimile.) 



52 ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

up from two Gaelic syllables "breas" and "ail," each highly 
commendatory in implication and carrying that note of admira- 
tion alike to man or island. Quite in consonance therewith the 
fifteenth-century map of Fra Mauro in 1459^ not only delineated 
and named this Atlantic Berzil but appended the inscription 
"Queste isole de Hibernia son dite fortunate," ranking it as one of 
the "Fortunate Islands." 

Another Suggested Derivation 

On the whole, this seems the more likely channel of derivation 
of the name; or, if there were two such channels, then the more 
important one. For there is another suggested derivation, of 
which much has rightly been made and which we must by no 
means neglect. Red dyewood bore the name "brazil" in the early 
Middle Ages, a word derived, Humboldt believed,^ by translation 
from the Arabic bakkam of like meaning, on record in the ninth 
century. He notes that Brazir, one form of the name, as we have 
seen, recalls the French braise, the Portuguese braza and braseiro, 
the Spanish brasero, the Italian braciere, all having to do with 
fire, which is normally more or less red like the dye. He does not 
know any tongue of medieval Asia which could supply brasilli 
or the like for dyewood. He suggests also the possibility of the 
word's being a borrowed place name, like indigo or jalap, com- 
memorating the region of origin, but cannot identify any such 
place. His treatment of the topic leaves a feeling of uncertainty, 
with a preference for some sort of transformation from "bakkam" 
which would yield "brazil" probably by a figure of speech. 

The earliest distinctly recognizable mention of brazil as a 
commodity occurs in a commercial treaty of 1193 between the 

* IM. F.] Santarem: Atlas compose de mappemondes, de portulans, et de cartes 
hydrographiques et historiques depuis le VI^ jusqu'au XVII^ siecle . . . devant 
servir de preuves a I'histoire de la cosmographie et de la cartographic pendant le 
Moyen Age .... Paris, 1842-53, Pis. 43-48 (Quaritch's notation); reference on 
PI. 46. 

* Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent, 5 vols., Paris, 1836-39^; reference in Vol. 2, pp. 216-223. See 
also Fridtjof Nansen: In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, transl. 
by A. G. Chater, 2 vols., New York, 191 1; reference in Vol. 2, p. 229. 



ANOTHER SUGGESTED DERIVATION 53 

Duchy of Ferrara, Italy, and a neighboring town or small state, 
which presents grana de Brasill in a long list including wax, furs, 
incense, indigo, and other merchandise.^ The same curious 
phrase, "grain of Brazil," recurs in a quite independent local 
charta of the same country only five years later. Muratori, 
who garnered such things into his famous compilation of Italian 
antiquities, avowed his bewilderment over this strange phrase, 
asking what dyewood could be so called; and Humboldt, recon- 
sidering the whole matter, was no more clear in mind. He calls 
attention to the fact that cochineal very long afterward bore the 
same name, but evidently without considering this any sort of 
solution, as, indeed, it could not well be, since it bears distinct 
reference to the South American Brazil, which was discovered 
and named centuries later. But the facts remain that grain does 
not naturally mean dyewood of any kind or in any form, that 
its recurrence in public documents proves it a well-established 
characterization of a known article of trade in the twelfth 
century, and that its presentation is such as to indicate a granular 
packaged material. 

Perhaps an explanation may be found in Marco Polo's experi- 
ence and experiments nearly a century later than these Italian 
documents. Of Lambri, a district in Sumatra, he writes: 

They also have brazil in great quantities. This they sow, and when it 
is grown to the size of a small shoot they take it up and transplant 
it; then they let it grow for three years, after which they tear it up by the 
root. You must know that Messer Marco Polo aforesaid brought some 
seed of the brazil, such as they sow, to Venice with him and had it sown 
there, but never a thing came up. And I fancy it was because the climate 
was too cold.® 

The seeds of that Sumatran shrub might well pass for grain 
in the sense of a small granular object, as we say a grain of sand, 
for example. But, since the plant was not and perhaps could not 

^L. A. Miiratori: Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevi, 6 vols., Milan, 1738-42; 
reference in Vol. 2, pp. 891 and 894. 

6 Sir Henry Yule: The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian Concerning the 
Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, 3rd edit., revised ... by Henri Cordier, 2 
vols., London, 1903; reference in Vol. 2, p. 299. See also pp.306, 3 13, and 3 15 (note 4). 



54 ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

be reared in Italy, it seems unlikely that the seed should be a 
valued item of commerce, regularly listed, bargained for, and 
taxed. We do not hear of its being put to use as a dye ; and, indeed, 
the bark or wood of the plant seems far more promising for 
that purpose. Like our distinguished forerunners in considering 
this little mystery, we must set it aside as not yet fully solved. 

"Grain of Brazil" is not repeated in any entry, so far as I know, 
after the end of the twelfth century; but brazil as a commodity 
figures rather frequently; for example, in the schedules of port 
dues of Barcelona and other Catalan seaboard towns in the 
thirteenth century, as compiled by Capmany.' Thus in 122 1 
we find "carrega de Brasill," in 1243 "caxia de bresil," and some- 
what later (1252) "cargua de brazil/' the spelling varying as in 
the easy-going fourteenth- and fifteenth-century maps, the word 
being plainly the same. But the word and the thing were not 
confined to the Mediterranean, for a grant of murage rates of 
13 12 to the city of Dublin, Ireland, uses the words "de brasile 
venali."* This is pretty far afield and shows that the knowledge 
and use of brazil as taxable merchandise was nearly Europe-wide. 
As a rule, it has been taken for granted that the word meant 
either some special kind of red dyewood or dyewood in general. 
Marco Polo's account conforms rather to the former version, 
while Humboldt seems to lean toward the latter; but there is 
singularly little in the entries which tends to identify it as wood 
at all or in any way relate it thereto. Such words as carrega, 
caxia, cargua, show that it was put up in some kind of inclosure, 
and perhaps give the impression of comminution or at least 
absence of bulkiness. Most likely many kinds of red bark, red 
wood suitable for dyeing, and perhaps other vegetable products 
available for that purpose were sometimes included under the 
name brazil. People of that time were more concerned about 

"^ Antonio de Capmany: Memorias historicas sobre la marina, comercio, y artes 
de la antigua ciudad de Barcelona, 4 vols., Madrid, 1779-92; reference in Vol. 2, 
pp. 4, 17, and 20. 

8T. J. Westropp: Early Italian Maps of Ireland from 1300 to 1600, With Notes 
on Foreign Settlers and Trade, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13, 
pp. 361-428; reference on p. 393. 



DISTRIBUTION OF NAME ON EARLY MAPS 55 

results and means to attain them than about exactness in 
classification or definition. 

It may well be that both lines of derivation of the name meet 
in the Brazil Island west of Ireland, that it was given a traditional 
Irish name by Irish navigators and tale tellers and mapped 
accordingly by Italians, who would naturally apply to it the 
meaning with which they were familiar in commerce and eastern 
story, so that the Island of Brazil, extolled on all hands, would 
come to mean along the Mediterranean chiefly the island where 
peculiarly precious dyewoods abounded. We know that Colum- 
bus was pleased to collect what his followers called brazil in his 
third and fourth voyages along American shores;^ that Cabot 
felicitates himself on the prospect of finding silk and brazilwood 
by persistence in his westward explorations •■'■^ and that the great 
Brazil of South America received its final name as a tribute to its 
prodigal production of such dyes. 

Free Distribution of the Name on Early Maps 
But there is a curious phenomenon to be noticed — the free 
distribution of this name among sea islands, especially of the 
Azores archipelago, from an early date. Thus the Pizigani map 
of 1367^^ applies it with slight change of spelling not only to the 
original disc-form Brazil west of Ireland and to a mysterious 
crescent-form island, which must be Mayda, but to what is 
plainly meant for Terceira of the main middle group of the 
Azores (Fig. 2). The Spanish Friar, naming Brazil in his island 
list about 1350, appears also to mean Terceira, judging by the 
order of the names.^^ His matter-of-fact tone indicates a long- 

9 Humboldt, Examen critique, Vol. 2, p. 223. 

10 See Soncino's second letter to the Duke of Milan, published in many works on 
John Cabot; e. g. in "The Northmen, Columbus, and Cabot, 985-1503," edited by 
J. E. Olsen and E. G. Bourne (Series: Original Narratives of Early American His- 
tory), New York, 1906; reference on p. 426. 

" [E. P.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales . . . , Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 

12 Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are 
in the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the Kings 
and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle of the 
14th century, published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jimenez de la 
Espada in 1877, translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyt Soc. 
Pubis., 2nd Set., Vol. 29, London, 1912, p. 29. 



56 ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

settled item. This carries us well back toward the first settled 
date for the Irish Brazil in cartography. Further, the name still 
adheres to Terceira, though long restricted to a single mountain- 
ous headland. The explanation remains a matter of conjecture. 
Perhaps the Azores islands that bore it borrowed from the older 
Brazil west of Ireland. Perhaps also the word had gone about 
that islands were notable for dyes — archil, for example — and the 
special dye name brazil has been loosely affixed in consequence. 

On some of the maps certain alternative names are given, 
which do not greatly further our investigation. Thus the very 
first one which shows Brazil — Dalorto, 1325 — adds Montonis 
as a second choice (Fig. 4). This has been understood to mean the 
Isle of Rams, linking it with Edrisi's Isle of Sheep, a quite ancient 
fancy, sometimes referred to the Faroes, but of very uncertain 
identification. But Freducci,^^ 1497. makes it Montanis; Cala- 
poda,^^ 1552, Montorius; and an anonymous compass chart of 
1384,^^ Monte Orius. In all these the idea of mountains, not 
sheep, is dominant. The change from "a" to "o" is easy with 
a not very vigilant transcriber, and it is most likely that Freducci 
preserves the original form and meaning. 

The Pizigani map of 1367 is confused and enigmatic on this 
point, as in all its inscriptions. It seems to read (Fig. 2) "Ysola de 
nocorus sur de brazar," but it may best be set aside as too uncer- 
tain. 

Equally unenlightening is the "de Brazil de Binar" of Bianco's 
1448 map.^^ If the "n" be read "m," the inscription may mean 
"Brazil of the two seas;" but the allusion is mystifying. 

Fra Mauro's inscription before quoted merely bears testimony 
to Brazil's benign and almost Elysian repute and its connection 
with the Green Isle in fancy. 

13 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Saihng-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 22. 
1* Ibid.. PI. 26. 

15 Ibid., PI. IS. 

16 Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio 11 (Facsimile della Carta nautica de Andrea 
Bianco dell' anno 1448;, PI. 3. 



LOCATION AND SHAPE 57 

Location and Shape of the Island 

The circular form of Brazil and its location westward of 
southern Ireland are affirmed by many maps, including Dalorto, 
1325 (Fig. 4); Dulcert, 1339;^^ Laurenziano-Gaddiano, 1351;^^ 
Pizigani, 1367 (Fig. 2) ; anonymous Weimar map, probably about 
i48i;i^Giraldi, i426;2''Beccario, 142621 and 1435-^ (Fig. 20) ; Juan 
da Napoli, perhaps 1430 1^^ Bianco, 1436 and 1448 ;2^ Valsequa, 
i439;25Pareto, 1455^^ (Fig. 21); Roselli, I468;27 Benincasa, 14822^ 
(Fig. 22); Juan de la Cosa, 1500 ;2^ and numerous later maps. 
Probably the persistent roundness is ascribable to a certain pref- 
erence for geometrical regularity, which sowed these early maps 
with circles, crescents, trilobed clover leaves, and other more 
unusual but not less artificial island forms. The direction must 
stand for the tradition of some old voyage or voyages. 



17 A. E. Nordenskiold. Periplus, PI. 8. 

18 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 5 (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano-Gaddiano 
deir anno 1351), PI. 5. 

19 W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum- 
bus, Proc. igth Internatl. Congr. of Americanists, Held at Washington, Dec. 27-31, 
1915 [Smithsonian Institution], Washington, D. C, 1917. PP- 469-478; map on p. 
476. 

20 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di 
Venezia dell' anno 1426), PI. 5- 

21 The section of which the author has a photograph (first published in the 
Geogr. Rev., Vol. 8, 1919, opposite p. 40, and here reproduced. Fig. 3, somewhat 
curtailed) does not extend far enough to show the island of Brazil. 

22 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche 
d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici suUa Storia della 
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geo- 
graphical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875; 
reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 

23 In the Kohl collection of maps relating to America, No. 17, in the Library of 
Congress, Washington, D. C. 

2- A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 20; Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 11, PI. 3. 

25 Original in Majorca. A good copy is owned by T. Solberg, Register of Copy- 
rights, Washington, D. C. 

26 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutuhg fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 5. 

27 E. L. Stevenson: Facsimiles of Portolan Charts Belonging to the Hispanic 
Society of America, Pubis. Hispanic Soc of Amer. No. 104, New York. 1916, PI. 2. 

28 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map i. 

29 Ibid.. PI. 7. 



58 



ISLAND OF BRAZIL 



Significant Shape on the Catalan Map of 1375 

But the celebrated Catalan map of 1375-^° above mentioned 
introduced a significant novelty, converting the disc into an 
annulus of land — of course, still circular — surrounding a circular 
body of water dotted with islets (Fig. 5). The preferred explana- 
tion thus far advanced connects these islets with the Seven Cities 




Fig. s — Section of the Catalan map of i37S showing the islands of Mayda and 
Brazil. (After Nordenskiold'a photographic facsimile.) 

of Portuguese and Spanish legend.^^ But there seem to be nine 
islands, not seven, and it is not clear what necessary relation 
exists between isles and cities nor whence the idea is derived of 
the central lake or sea as a background. Moreover, the Island 
of the Seven Cities was most often identified with Antillia far 
to the south, and there seems no warrant for identification with 
Brazil. All considered, this explanation seems arbitrary, 
inadequate, and unconvincing. 

The same ring form with inclosed water and islets is repeated 
by a map of the next century copied by Kretschmer.^^ It varies 

so a. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. ii. 

81 Ibid., p. 164. 

32 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 8. 



POSSIBLE IDENTIFICATION 59 

only by showing just seven islets, if we may rely for this detail 
on his handmade copy. 

Possible Identification with the Gulf of St. Lawrence 

Region 

Now, in all the Atlantic Ocean and its shores there is one region, 
and one only, which thus incloses a sheet of water having islands 
in its expanse, and this region lies in the very direction indicated 
on the old maps for Brazil. I allude to the projecting elbow of 
northeastern North America, which most nearly approaches 
Europe and has Cape Race for its apex. Its front is made up of 
Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island. The remainder of the 
circuit is made up of what we now call southern Labrador, a 
portion of eastern Quebec province, New Brunswick, and Nova 
Scotia. This irregular ring of territory incloses the great Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, which has within it the Magdalens, Brion's 
Island, and some smaller islets, not to include the relatively 
large Anticosti and Prince Edward. It has two rather narrow 
channels of communication with the ocean, which might readily 
fail to impress greatly an observer whose chief mental picture 
would be the great land-surrounded, island-dotted expanse of 
water. The surrounding land would itself almost certainly be 
regarded as insular, for there was a strong tendency to picture 
everything west of Europe in that way, even long after the time 
when most of these maps were made. Even when Cartier^^ in 1535 
ascended the St. Lawrence River it was in the hope of coming out 
again on the open sea — a hope that implies the very conception of 
an insular mass inclosing the gulf, not differing essentially from 
the showing of the Catalan map of 1375. The number of the 
islands is immaterial. We may picture the Catalan map-maker 
dotting them in from vague report as impartially as the far better 
known Lake Corrib is besprinkled with islands in most of the old 
maps — far more plentifully than the facts give warrant. 

3' Justin Vv'insor: Cartier to Frontenac, Geographical Discovery in the Inteiior 
of North America in Its Historical Relations, 1334-1700, With Full Cartographical 
Illustrations from Contemporary Sources, Boston and New York, 1894; reference 
on p. 28. 



6o ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

But it would seem that other observers were more impressed 
by the separation of Newfoundland, due to the Straits of Belle 
Isle and Cabot and the waterway (of the gulf) connecting them 
behind the great island. As a rule the maps presenting Brazil 
in this divided way adhere to the accepted latitude, which does 
not differ appreciably from that of the St. Lawrence Gulf 
region. The dividing passage, mainly from north to south but 
slightly curved at the ends which join the ocean, corresponds 
fairly well with the facts. The maps of Prunes, 1553^^ (Fig. 12), 
and Olives, 1568,^^ may be cited as instances of this divided form 
of Brazil. No explanation seems yet to have been offered except 
Nansen's,^^ that the dividing channel represents "the river of 
death (Styx)," and Westropp's," that it may be owing to mistaken 
copying of a name space or label on some older map. But the 
former lacks any better basis than conjectured fancy and the 
latter is refuted by the position of the channel on most maps 
and by the general aspect of the delineation. As a matter of 
fact, the showing of most of the maps differs in little more than 
proportions from that of Gastaldi illustrating Ramusio in 1550,^^ 
when the Gulf of St. Lawrence was fairly well known to many, 
but appears as a rather narrow channel behind a broken-up 
Newfoundland, extending from the Strait of Belle Isle to the 
Strait of Cabot. As in the much older map referred to, the 
delineation of Gastaldi is perhaps to be explained by concen- 
tration of attention on the waterway and the ignoring of the 
wider parts of the expanse. Absolute demonstration of the 
causes of the divided Brazil of some maps and the ring of land 
inclosing an island-dotted body of water in others is, of course, 
impossible; but we can show that in the designated direction 
there is a region presenting both of these unusual features, so 
that one of the visitors might well be especially taken up with 

« Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 5- 

S5 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 29. 

36 Nansen, In Northern Mists, Vol. 2, p. 228. 

3? T. J. Westropp: Brasil and the Legendary Islands of the North Atlantic: 
Their History and Fable, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, I9I2-I3,PP- 
223-260. 

38 Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, p. 60. 



CATALAN MAP OF ABOUT 1480 61 

one set of characteristics, another with the other set, and might 
depict the region accordingly. This is the more probable because 
the region was peculiarly exposed to accidental or intentional 
discovery from the west of the British islands and is known, in 
fact, to have been the first to be reached therefrom of all North 
America in times of historic record. 

It must not be supposed that Brazil was always thought of as 
relatively near Europe. Nicolay in 1560^^ (Fig. 6) and Zaltieri in 
1566^® prepared maps which show a Brazil Island in distinctly 
American waters, practically forming part of the archipelago into 
which Newfoundland was supposed to be divided, or at least lying 
between it and the Grand Banks. These presentations no doubt 
may have been suggested by American discoveries and later 
theories, especially as no navigator had been able to find Brazil 
at any point nearer Europe; but again they may be at least 
partly due to surviving early traditions of the great distance 
westward at which this island lay. The Brazil of Nicolay and 
Zaltieri is, to be sure, a very small affair; but their maps were 
made about two and a half centuries after the earliest one which 
shows this island — ample time for many misconceptions to creep 
in. Their only value is in their illustration of locality. 

The Catalan Map of about 1480 
More important in every way is a Catalan map (Fig. 7) pre- 
served in Milan and reproduced by Nordenskiold in 1892,^^ 
but since copied partly by Nansen, by Westropp, and by others. 
It belongs to the fifteenth century — perhaps about 1480 — and 
deserves clearly to rank as the only map before Columbus, thus 
far reported, which shows a part of North America other than 
Greenland. The latter had long before appeared in the well- 
known map of Claudius Clavus, 1427*^ (Fig. 16), no doubt on 

'9 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 27. 

*° Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 19, map 3. 

*i A. E. Nordenskiold: Bidrag till Nordens aldsta Kartografi, Stockholm, 1892, 
PI. 5. Also (reduced) in Nansen's "In Northern Mists," Vol. 2, p. 280, and in 
T. J. Westropp's "Brasil," PI. 20, facing p. 260. 

*2A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, p. 90; also discussed by Joseph Fischer: The 
Discoveries of the Norsemen in America, With Special Relation to Their Early- 
Cartographical Representation, transl. by B. H. Soulsby, and London, 1903. 



62 



ISLAND OF BRAZIL 




CATALAN MAP OF ABOUT 1480 63 

the faith of the early Norse narratives and subsequent commer- 
cial intercourse, for the Norse Greenland colony is known to 
have existed in 1410 and probably did not die out entirely until 
much later. The Catalan map of about 1480 shows Greenland 
also as a great northwestern land mass beyond Iceland, identi- 
fying it by name as Ilia Verde (Green Island). But just south, or 
west of south, of this Greenland at a slight interval and south- 
west of Iceland is drawn and named a large Brazil of the con- 
ventional circular disc form. Its position is that of Labrador, or 
perhaps Newfoundland, as it would naturally have been under- 
stood and reported by the Norse explorers. It can be nothing 
but one or both of these regions of America with perhaps neigh- 
boring lands. 

It is true that this map shows also another Brazil of the divided 
kind (in this instance with a channel crossing it from east to 
west) located in mid-Atlantic about where Prunes and others 
show their bisected Brazil. But this seems only an instance of 
conservation and deference for authority, such as has often 
been manifested in cartography. Of such deference for authority 
perhaps there is no more striking instance than Bianco's map 
of 1448, which places the rediscovered Azores where they should 
be but also preserves them, on the faith of older maps, where 
they should not be — making a double series. The lesser bisected 
mid-Atlantic Brazil of the Catalan map may well be set aside as 
a survival without significance. 

But the duplication by Bianco in 1448 raises a question of 
distance, which must be considered, for his Azores retained from 
the maps antedating the Portuguese rediscoveries are far nearer 
the coast of Europe than the truth at all warrants; and, so far 
as we can judge, the same cautious underestimating was applied 
to all oceanic islands as reported. Corvo, for example, is actually 
nearly half-way across the Atlantic, yet on all the maps for a long 
time is brought eastward to a position much nearer Portugal. 
We must suppose that the region about the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
if visited, would be similarly treated, and we cannot tell how 



64 



ISLAND OF BRAZIL 




SYLVANUS MAP OF 151 1 65 

far the minimization of distance might be carried by some 
map-makers. 

The Sylvanus Map of 1511 

The fact is, this matter does not rest in supposition only, for the 
thing has undoubtedly happened. The map of Sylvanus,*^ 151 1, 
brings the Gulf of St. Lawrence and surroundings as an insular 
body almost as near Ireland as are many of the presentations of 
Brazil Island on older maps. He shows in front a single large 
island; a square gulf behind it; a bent shore line forming the 
border on the north, west, and south; and two gaps well repre- 
senting the Straits of Belle Isle and Cabot. The names given 
are Terra Laboratorum and Regalis Domus. Nobody doubts 
that it illustrates the St. Lawrence Gulf region, though there 
has been much speculation as to what unknown explorer has had 
his discoveries commemorated here, thirteen years before the 
first voyage of Cartier. Why should not a like episode of dis- 
covery and imperfect record have happened at a still earlier 
date? 

It is not to be supposed that Brazil Island was generally con- 
ceived of by intelligent persons as no farther at sea than it 
appears on the map of Dalorto, 1325, and divers later ones. 
Peasantry and fisher folk might, indeed, confuse it with the 
mythical Isle of the Undying — accessible only to a few chosen 
ones but vanishing from ordinary mortal gaze — and thus account 
for Brazil's elusiveness, though so near at hand; but the sturdy 
explorers of Bristol^ who kept sailing westward in search of the 
island, before and after Columbus, sometimes at least being 
away on this quest for many months together, must often have 
passed over the very site given by Dalorto and far beyond. 
The}^ were looking for solid earth and rock and must have been 
convinced that the real Brazil was to be found in remoter seas. 
Also, during a great part of the period in which Brazil appeared 

*3 Winsor, Cartier to Frontenac, p. ii. 

** See Ayala's letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, copied in many Cabot narratives; 
e. g. in the work cited above in footnote lo, p. 430, and at the beginning of the next 
chapter. 



66 ISLAND OF BRAZIL 

on the maps off the Blaskets and Limerick and unduly close 
to Ireland, Italian traders were habitually following the Irish 
w^estem coast and trafficking in that port and others and must 
often have been blown out, or sailed out by choice, far enough for 
a landing on the island if it had actually been where Dalorto 
and others pictured it. The total lack of any such happening 
must have been convincing to all except devotees of the occult 
and those given over blindly to seashore tradition. No doubt the 
far westward showing of the fifteenth-century Catalan and the 
much later Nicolay and Zaltieri maps accorded with the general 
expectation of thoughtful and well-informed navigators. 

Omission of the Name in Norse and Irish Records 

It may seem strange that the Norse sagas do not mention 
Brazil by that name, though its relation to the Scandinavian 
colony of Greenland is made so conspicuous on the Catalan 
fifteenth-century map above referred to; also that there is no 
distinct Irish record of any voyage to Brazil as such, though the 
western ports of Ireland were natural points of departure and 
return for western voyages and though voyages to a far western 
Great Ireland are reported by the Norse from Irish sources. 
Perhaps there is no quite satisfactory answer to this. All narra- 
tives of the kind are fragmentary and more or less mythical, and 
the name Brazil may often have been used in the reports of 
Irish explorers, as it certainly was later the especial goal of the 
English, without having left any other trace than the name on 
the map and such hints as we have mentioned. The Norse seem 
to have adhered to their own names Markland and Vinland, only 
mentioning Great Ireland incidentally in the same neighborhood 
and Brazil not at all unless the delineation of the Catalan map 
be of their suggestion; but no really strong adverse argument can 
be founded on these matters of nomenclature and omission where 
all references and records are so meager. 

There can be no certainty; but from the evidence at hand 
it seems likely that the part of America indicated, i. e. New- 
foundland and neighboring shores, was visited very early by 



NORSE AND IRISH OMISSION OF NAME 67 

Irish-speaking people, who gave it the commendatory name 
Brazil. Naturally one inclines to ascribe such an unremitting 
westward push to the powerful religious impulsion which, 
according to Dicuil, carried Irishmen to Iceland in the latter 
part of the eighth century and even bore them on^ it is reported, 
some two hundred miles beyond it. The date, however, may have 
been much later. Yet it must have preceded Dalorto's map of 
1325, whereon Brazil first appears by name. 

Of evidence on the ground there is nothing; but what have we 
now to show even for the perfectly attested visits to the same 
region of Cabot and Cortereal? Their case rests on maps, 
governmental entries, and contemporary correspondence, luckily 
preserved. Earlier visits to Brazil have no epistles, no entries, 
to show but must rely on the maps and the general tradition in 
the British islands of such a western region across at least a 
part of the great sea. 



CHAPTER V 
THE ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

The mythical islands of the Atlantic {les ties fantastiques) on 
the old maps have had divers origins, instructive to study. 
Perhaps only one of them derives its name and being directly 
from a real human episode of a twilight period in history. 

When the Moors descended on Spain in 711, routed King 
Roderick's army beside the Guadalete, and rapidly overran the 
Iberian Peninsula, it was most natural, indeed nearly inevitable, 
that some Christian fugitives should continue their flight from 
the seaboard to accessible islands already known or rumored, 
or even desperately commit themselves in blindness to the 
remoter mysteries of the ocean. Such an event would afford 
a fabric for the embroidery of later fancy. A part of this has 
been preserved by record; and it is curious to watch the develop- 
ment of the story, which takes several forms, not differing widely, 
however, one from another. 

The Island of Brazil 

When Pedro de Ayala, Spanish Ambassador to Great Britain, 
found occasion in 1498 to report English exploring activities to 
Ferdinand and Isabella, he wrote: 

The people of Bristol have, for the last seven years, sent out every 
year two, three, or four light ships (caravels) in search of the island of 
Brasil and the seven cities.^ 

There is indeed one well-attested voyage of 1480 conducted 
by well-known navigators, seeking this insular Brazil, and it 
was not the earliest. 

1 G. E. Weare: Cabot's Discovery of North America, London, 1897, p. '9. 



ANTILLIA 69 

The first appearance of that island thus far reported, as we 
have seen in the preceding chapter, is on the map of Dalorto^ 
(dated 1325; Fig. 4) as a disc of land well at sea, westward from 
Hibernian Munster; but the Catalan map of 1375^ (Fig- 5) and 
at least one other^ turn the disc into a ring surrounding a body 
of water which is studded with small islands — apparently nine 
in the Catalan map photographically reproduced by Norden- 
skiold, though Dr. Kretschmer draws seven on the other. These 
miniature islands have sometimes been thought^ to represent the 
seven cities of the old legend ; but islets are not cities, and there 
seems no reason why each city should require an islet. However, 
the coincidence of number, exact or approximate, is suggestive. 

Antillia 

Antillia (variously spelled) was a home for the elusive cities 
more favored than Brazil by cartography and tradition. In 
1474 Toscanelli, a cosmographer of Florence, being consulted 
by Christopher Columbus as to the prospects of a westward 
voyage, sent him a copy of a letter which he had written to a 
friend in the service of the King of Portugal. Its authenticity 
has been questioned, but it is still believed in by the majority of 
inquirers and may be accepted provisionally. In it occurs this 
passage : 

From the island Antilia, which you call the seven cities, and whereof 
you have some knowledge, to the most noble island of Cipango [Japan], 
are ten spaces, which make 2,500 miles.® 

2 Alberto Magnaghi: La carta nautica costruita nel 1325 da Angelino Dalorto, 
with facsimile, Florence, 1898 (published on the occasion of the Third Italian Geo- 
graphical Congress). Cf. also: idem: II mappamondo del genovese Angellinus de 
Dalorto (1325): Contributo alia storia della cartografia medioYdAe, Atti del Terzo 
Congr. Geogr. Italiano, tenuto in Firenze dal 12 al 17 Aprile, i8g8, Florence, 1899, 
Vol. 2, pp. 506-543; and idejn: Angellinus de Dalorco {sic), cartografo italiano della 
prima meta del secolo XIV, i?iz'. Geogr. ltaliana,Vo\./^, 1897, pp. 2 82-294 and 36 1-369. 

2 A. E. Nordenskiold : Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 2. 

* Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des V/eltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 4, map 8. 

6 E. g. by Nordenskiold, op. cit., p. 164. 

Ferdinand Columbus: The History of the Life and Actions of Adm. Christopher 
Columbus, and of His Discovery of the West-Indies, Call'd the New World, Now 



70 ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

The name Antillia had appeared on the maps much earlier. 
As Atilae, or Atulae, it is doubtfully found in an inscription on 
that of the Pizigani (1367;'^ Fig. 2), identifying a "shore," not 
drawn, on which a colossal statue of warning had been erected. 
The location seems to be somewhere in the region where Corvo 
of the Azores should appear. 

We meet the island name, for the first time unmistakably, 
on the map of Beccario (Becharius) of 1435* (Fig. 20). It is ap- 
plied to the chief of a group of four large islands, comparable to 
nothing actually in the western Atlantic except the Greater An- 
tilles, or three of them with Florida (Bimini). They are collec- 
tively designated "Insulle a Novo Repte" — the "Newly Reported 
Islands." Antillia itself is shown as an elongated quadrilateral 
having its sides indented by seven two-lobed bays of identical 
form, beside another and larger bay in the southern end. Several 
subsequent maps repeat the delineation with little change, and 
the map of Benincasa (1482;^ Fig. 22) supphes local names for 
the bays or the regions adjoining excepting only the lowest but 
one on the eastern side, which bay is opposite the middle of the 
island name Antillia. The other names as read by Dr. Kretsch- 
mer are Aira, Ansalli, Ansodi, Con, Anhuib, Ansesseli, and An- 
solli. It will be observed that five of them borrow the first sylla- 
ble of Antillia. Nobody has explained these names, and they seem 
mere products of linguistic fancy. But again the coincidence in 
number is impressive, although somewhat offset by the fact that 
the next largest island in the group, Saluaga, has a similar ar- 

in Possession of His Catholic Majesty. Written by His Own Son, transl. from 
the Italian and contained in "A Collection of Voyages and Travels, Some Now First 
Printed from Original Manuscripts, Others Now First Published in English," by 
Awnsham Churchill and John Churchill (6 vols., London, 1732), Vol. 2, pp. 501- 
628; reference on p. 512. 

^ [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 

8 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblio- 
teche d'ltalia. Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici suUa Storia 
della Geografia in Itaha," published on the occasion of the Second International 
Geographical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875; 
reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 

9 Kretschmer, atlas, PL 4, map i. 



HOME OF PORTUGUESE REFUGEES 71 

rangement of five bays of like form and carries the names, simi- 
larly applied, of Arahas, Duchal, Imada, Nom, and Consilla. 
They can hardly be extra bishops' towns. At least we are in the 
dark about them. The anonymous map sometimes attributed to 
1424 and preserved at Weimar^" shows in photographic copy 
traces of names, or at least letters, on the part of Antillia which 
it represents. Its true date is believed to be about that of 
Benincasa's map above cited. But the markings do not seem 
to be identical and are very meager. 

The Legendary Home of Portuguese Refugees 

However, there can be no doubt of Toscanelli's meaning at 
an earlier date in the passage quoted. The same is true of 
Behaim's globe (1492), though he discards the accepted form 
of Antillia. He appends a long inscription, translated by Raven- 
stein as follows: 

In the year 734 of Christ, when the whole of Spain had been won 
by the heathen (Moors) of Africa, the above island Antilia, called Septe 
citade (Seven cities), was inhabited by an archbishop from the Porto 
in Portugal, with six other bishops, and other Christians, men and 
women, who had fied thither from Spain, by ship, together with their 
cattle, belongings, and goods. 1414 a ship from Spain got nighest it 
without being endangered. ^^ 

Again, in Ruysch's map of 1508 there is "a large island in 
the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Lat. N. 37° and 40°. 
It is called Antilia Insula, and a long legend asserts that it had 
been discovered long ago by the Spaniards, whose last Gothic 
king, Roderik, had taken refuge there from the invasion of the 
Barbarians."^^ 

Ferdinand Columbus, living between 1488 and 1539, says that 
some Portuguese cartographers had located 

1" W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum- 
bus, Proc. 19th Iniernatl. Congr. of Americanists, Held at Washington, Dec. 27-31, 
1915, [Smithsonian Institution], Washington, D. C, 1917. PP- 469-478; map on p. 
476. 

" E. G. Ravenstein: Martin Behaim: His Life and His Globe, London, 1908, * 
p. 77. 

"A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile- Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, p. 65 and PI. 32. 



72 ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

Antilla . . . not . . . above 200 leagues due west from the 
Canaries and Azores, which they conclude to be certainly the island of the 
seven cities, peopled by the Portuguese at the time that Spain was con- 
quered by the Moors in the year 714. At which time they say, seven 
bishops with their people embark'd and sailed to this island, where each of 
them built a city; and to the end none of their people might think of 
returning to Spain, they burnt the ships, tackle and all things necessary 
for sailing. Some Portuguese discoursing about this island, there were 
those that affirmed several Portuguese had gone to it, who could not 
find the way to it again. ^^ 

He relates particularly how "in the time of Henry infant of 
Portugal [perhaps about 1430], a Portuguese ship was drove by 
stress of weather to this island Antilla." The crew went to church 
with the islanders but were afraid of being detained and hurried 
back to Portugal. The Prince heard their story and ordered 
them to return to the island, but they escaped from him and 
were not found again. It is said that of the sand gathered on 
Antillia for the cook room a third part was pure gold. 

Galvano tells of a still later visit; or possibly it is only an- 
other version of the same: 

In this yeere also, 1447, it happened that there came a Portugall 
ship through the streight of Gibraltar; and being taken with a great 
tempest, was forced to runne westwards more then willingly the men 
would, and at last they fell upon an Island which had seven cities, and 
the people spake the Portugall toong, and they demanded if the Moors 
did yet trouble Spaine, whence they had fled for the losse which they 
received by the death of the king of Spaine, Don Roderigo. 

The boateswaine of the ship brought home a little of the sand, and 
sold it unto a goldsmith of Lisbon, out of the which he had a good 
quantitie of gold. 

Don Pedro understanding this, being then govemour of the realme, 
caused all the things thus brought home, and made knowne, to be 
recorded in the house of justice. 

There be some that thinke, that those Islands whereunto the Portugals 
were thus driven, were the Antiles, or Newe Spaine. ^^ 

IS Ferdinand Columbus, p. 514. 

1' Antonio Galvano: The Discoveries of the World from Their First Original unto 
the Year of Our Lord 1555, Hakluyt Soc. Pubis., ist Series, Vol. 30, London, 1862, 
p. 72. 



ANOTHER ACCOUNT 73 

Another Account 

The Portuguese historian Faria y Sousa has yet another 
version. According to Stevens' translation: 

After Roderick's defeat the Moors spread themselves over all the 
province, committing inhuman barbarities. * * * xhe chief re- 
sistance was at Merida. The defendants, many of whom were Portu- 
guese, that being the Supreme Tribunal of Lusitania, were commanded 
by Sacaru, a noble Goth. Many brave actions passed at the siege, but 
at length there being no hopes of relief and provisions failing, the town 
was surrendered upon articles. The commander of the Lusitanians, 
traversing Portugal, came to a seaport town, where ^collecting a good 
number of ships, he put to sea, but to which part of the world they 
were carried does not appear. There is an ancient fable of an island called 
Antilla in the western ocean, inhabited by Portuguese, but it could 
never yet be found, and therefore we will leave it until such time as 
it is discovered, but to this place our author supposes these Portugals 
to have been driven.^^ 

It is plain that Captain Stevens paraphrases with comments 
rather than translates. The original^^ avers that the fugitives 
made sail for the Fortunate Islands (the Canaries), in order 
that they might preserve some remnants of the Spanish race, 
but were carried elsewhere. It also specifies that the legendary 
island which they are supposed to have reached is inhabited 
by Portuguese and contains seven cities — tiene siete cividades. 

This last account lacks positive mention of the emigrating 
bishops and for the first time names a definite though rather 
remote goal as aimed at by their effort. But the movement 
from Merida is well accounted for, and a trusted military com- 
mander would seem a natural leader for such an enterprise of 
wholesale escape. The bishops, implied by the seven cities, 
might well gather to him at Oporto or be picked up on the way. 
On the whole it seems the most easily believable version of the 
story; though of course it does not necessarily follow that they 
really chose any land so remote as Teneriffe and its neighbors — 

« Manuel de Faria y Sousa: The History of Portugal, transl. by Capt. John 
Stevens, London, 1698; reference in Bk. 2, Ch. 6, p. 112. 

'6 Manuel de Faria y Sousa: Epitome de las Historias Portuguesas, 2 vols., Ma- 
drid, 1628; reference in Part II, Ch. 7, p. 257. 



74 ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

if they knew of them — for a new abiding place. Of course the 
continuance of Portuguese language and civilization and the 
persistence of seven isolated towns through so many centuries 
must be ranked with the auriferous sands of Antillia as late 
products of the dreaming Iberian brain. 

Mythical Location of the Seven Cities 
ON THE Mainland 

The citations thus far given identify the Island of the Seven 
Cities with some legendary, but generally believed-in patch of 
land afar out in the ocean — sometimes with the Island of Brazil, 
more often with Antillia. But the earliest of them dates six 
or seven centuries after the supposed fact, and it may well be 
that a distinction was made at first, which became lost after- 
ward by blending. In a still later stage of development the name 
of the Seven Cities becomes separate and strangely migratory, 
not avoiding even the mainland. We know, for instance, what 
power the Seven Cities of Cibola had to draw Coronado and his 
followers northward through the mountains and deserts of our 
still arid Southwest until all that was real of them stood revealed 
as the even then antiquated and rather uncleanly terraced 
villages of sun-dried brick which are picturesquely familiar on 
railway folders and in the pages of illustrated magazines. 

But this was not the only part of North America on which 
the romantic myth alighted. The British Museum contains in 
MS. 2803 of the Egerton collection an anonymous world map,^' 
(Fig. 8), forming part of a portolan atlas attributed by conjecture 
to 1508, which shows, somewhat as in La Cosa's map of 1500, the 
Atlantic coast distorted to a nearly westward trend, with the 
Seven Cities (Septem Civitates), represented by conventional in- 
dications of miters, scattered along a seaboard tract from a point 
considerably west of "terra de los bacalos" and the Bay of Fundy 
to a point nearly opposite the western end of Cuba. The car- 
tographer's ideas of geography were exceedingly vague, but appar- 

1' E. L. Stevenson: Atlas of Portolan Charts: Facsimile of Manuscript in British 
Museum, Pubis, Hispanic Soc. of Atner. No. 8i, New York, 1911. folio ib. 





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MYTHICAL LOCATION ON MAINLAND 



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ently he conceived of Portuguese episcopal domination for the 
coastal country between lower New England and Florida as we 
know them now. Perhaps, however, he merely meant to set down 
his cities somewhere on the eastern shore of temperate North 
America and has strewn them along at convenience. 

Incidentally, this map is also interesting as one of a few which 
inscribe Antillia, with slight changes of orthography, on some 
part of the mainland of South America. In this instance "Antiglia" 
occupies a tract of the northwestern coastal country apparently 
corresponding to contiguous portions of Colombia, Ecuador, 
and Peru. 

Later Reappearance As an Island 

But the Island of the Seven Cities appeared as such on other 
maps and by this name only. Perhaps its most salient showing 
is on Desceliers' fine map of 1546^^ (Fig. 9), that entertaining re- 
pository of isles which are more than dubious and names which 
are fantastic. He presents it off the American coast about 
a third as far as the Bermudas and midway from Cape Breton 
to the Bay of Fundy. The size is considerable, the outline 
being deeply embayed on several sides and hence very irregular, 
almost as much so as Celebes. Two islets lie near two of its 
projecting peninsulas. It bears a brief inscription giving the 
name Sete Cidades and indicating that it belongs to Portugal. 

This choice of location would have been more venturesome a 
century later. In 1546 there had been some exploring and much 
fishing in these waters but no determined settlement near them, 
and they were hardly yet familiar. However, the Ortelius map of 
1570^^ (Fig. 10), and the Mercator map of 1587^^ find it more 
prudent to move this island farther south and farther out to 
sea, reducing its area, but retaining its traditional name. Not 
long after this, except for a local name on St. Michaels of the 
Azores, the Seven Cities disappear from geography. 

13 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 17. 

18 A. E. Nordenskidld, Facsimile-Atlas, PL 46. 

20 Ibid.. PI. 47. 



76 



ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 



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LATER REAPPEARANCE AS AN ISLAND 



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78 ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

Occurrence of the Name in the Azores 

The exception noted is well worth considering. Just as Ter- 
ceira retains her medieval name of Brazil to designate one head- 
land, St. Michaels has still its valley of the Seven Cities. Brown's 
guidebook presents the fact very casually: "St. Michaels. Ponta 
Delgada. Brown's Hotel. About ten people. Among the chief 
sights are the lava beds coming from Sete Cidades. ... At 
Sete Cidades, which is worth a visit, there is a great crater 
with two lakes at the bottom, one of which appears to be green, 
the other blue."2i 

This naive incuriousness in the presence of something so 
significant of course has not been shared by a different order 
of observers. Buache^ found here as he thought the genuine 
and only Seven Cities of the legend. Humboldt^ opposed this 
view with a reminder of the Seven Cities of Cibola. But it is 
fair to remember that New Mexico was quite impossible for 
the Portuguese of 711 or thereabout, whereas St. Michaels 
Island offered an accessible and tempting place of refuge. The 
name could not have been derived from settlement in the 
former; but it might really be derived from settlement in the 
latter. Granting that the fugitives might not be able to main- 
tain themselves there in safety for many years after the Arabs 
had begun their tentative and always uneasy incursions into 
the western Sea of Darkness, it still may be that the town or 
towns of this hidden island valley might endure long enough 
and seem imposing enough and be visited often enough by 
Christians from the mainland to supply the nucleus of the most 
picturesque and adventurous of legends; and this tale might 
follow any later migration into the unknown, or survive and 
find new abiding places for the name and fancy long after the 

21 A. S. Brown: Guide to Madeira and the Canary Islands (with notes on the 

Azores), sth edit., London, 1898, p. 14S. 

^ N. Buache: Recherches sur I'ile Antillia et sur I'epoque de decouverte d'Am6- 
rique, Mimoires de I'lnstiiut des Sciences, Lettres, et Arts, Vol. 6, 1806, pp. 1-29, 
following p. 84 of Section entitled "Histoire" and appended list. See p. 13. 

23 Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent et des progres de 1 'astronomic nautique aux quinzieme et 
§ei2ieme siecles, s vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, p. 281. 



OCCURRENCE OF NAME IN THE AZORES 79 

original colony — archbishop and bishops and congregations, 
military commanders, and mailed soldiery — had all been some- 
how destroyed or had melted apart and drifted away. All 
that remains certain is the continued presence of the name of 
the Seven Cities on that spot. 

Some ruins are said to have marked it formerly, but very 
little is visible now, if we may trust the following description 
by an intelligent visitor in the middle of the last century: 

Emerging from these sunken lanes, so peculiar to the island of St. 
Michael's, we come to the green hills which border the village and the 
valley of the Seven Cities. . . . From these dull evergreen moun- 
tains, stretching before us without apparent end, we speedily had an 
unexpected change. Suddenly the mountain track up which we were 
climbing ended on the edge of a vast precipice, hitherto entirely con- 
cealed, and at a moment's transition disclosed a wide and deeply sunk 
valley with a scattered village and a blue lake. The hills which hemmed 
them in were bold and precipitous, tent-shaped, rounded and serrated. 
Others swept in soft and gentle lines into a little plain where the small 
village was nestled by the water side. The lake was of the deepest blue 
and so calm that a sea bird skimming over its surface seemed two, so 
perfect was its image in the water. The clouds above were floating in 
this very deep lake, and the inverted tops of the hills on every side were 
perfectly reflected in its bosom. A few women on the shore seemed 
rooted there, so steady were their reflections in the water, and the cattle 
standing in the shallows stood like cattle in a picture. . . . The 
sides slope gradually from this part of the valley into the level ground 
where the village stands. It is a small collection of cottages, without 
a church or a wineshop or a store of any kind, and at the time I entered 
it was enveloped in clouds of wood smoke which rose from the fires used 
in the process of bleaching cloth. This and clothes washing are the chief 
occupations of the villagers. 

A portion of the lake is separated from the larger one by a narrow 
causeway. It is singular to notice the difference made in the two pieces 
of water by this small embankment; for, while the large lake is clear 
and crystalline, this is thick, green, and muddy, and as gloomy as the 
Dead Sea, with no clouds or birds or bright sky reflected in it.^* 

Perhaps a little excavating archeology might not be amiss in 
the neighborhood of the causeway and the green dead lakelet. 
But at least it is satisfactory to have a good external account 

24 Joseph Bullar and Henry Bullar: A Winter in the Azores and a Summer in the 
Baths of the Furnas, 2 vols., London, 1841; reference in Vol. 2, pp. 242-247. 



8o ISLAND OF THE SEVEN CITIES 

of the only site in the world, so far as I know, which still bears 
the legendary name. As elsewhere used, this name has certainly 
wandered widely and been affixed to many places. Whether 
any of these represent real refuges of the original emigrants or 
their descendants or others like them no one can quite certainly 
say; but there is no evidence for it, and the probabilities are 
against it. Certainly no Spanish nor Portuguese community, 
of Moorish or of any pre-Columbian times, established itself 
in western lands for any great period to make good the aspira- 
tion of the fugitives of Merida. 



CHAPTER VI s 
THE PROBLEM OF MAYDA 

Of all the legendary islands and island names on the medieval 
maps, Mayda has been the most enduring. The shape of the 
island has generally approximated a crescent; its site most often 
has been far west of lower Brittany and more or less nearly 
southwest of Ireland; the spelling of the name sometimes has 
varied to Maida, Mayd, Mayde, Asmaida, or Asmayda. The 
island had other names also earlier and later and between times, 
but the identity is fairly clear. As a geographical item it is 
very persistent indeed. Humboldt about 1836 remarked that, 
out of eleven such islands which he might mention, only two, 
Mayda and Brazil Rock, maintain themselves on modern 
charts.^ In a note he instances the world map of John Purdy 
of 1834. However, this was not the end; for a relief map pub- 
lished in Chicago and bearing a notice of copyright of 1906 
exhibits Mayda. Possibly this is intended to have an educational 
and historic bearing; but it seems to be shown in simple credulity, 
a crowning instance of cartographic conservation. 

Possible Arabic Origin of Name 

If Mayda may, therefore, be said to belong in a sense to the 
twentieth century, it is none the less very old, and the name 
has sometimes been ascribed to an Arabic origin. Not very 
long after their conquest of Spain the Moors certainly sailed 
the eastern Atlantic quite freely and may well have extended 
their voyages into its middle waters and indefinitely beyond. 
They named some islands of the Azores, as would appear from 
Edrisi's treatise and other productions; but these names did 

^ Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent et des progres de I'astronomie nautique aux quinzieme et seizi^me 
siecles, 5 vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, p. 163. 



82 



MAYDA 




Fig. II — Section of the map of the New World in the 15 13 edition of Ptolemy 
showing the islands of Mayda (asmaidas) and Brazil (obrassil). (After Kretsch- 
mer's hand-copied reproduction.) 

not adhere unless in free translation. The name Mayda was 
not one of those that have come down to us in their writings 
or on their maps, and its origin remains unexplained. It is 
unlike all the other names in the sea. Perhaps the Arabic im- 
pression is strengthened by the form Asmaidas, under which 
it appears (this is nearly or quite its first appearance) on the 
map of the New World in the 1513 edition of Ptolemy (Fig. ii).^ 
But any possible significance vanishes from the prefixed syllable 
when we find the same map turning Gomera into Agomera, 



2 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weitbildes. 2 vols (text and atlas), Berlin. 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 12, map I. 



POSSIBLE ARABIC ORIGIN OF NAME 83 

Madeira into Amadera, and Brazil into Obrassil. Evidently 
this map-maker had a fancy for superfluous vowels as a begin- 
ning of his island names. He may have been led into it by the 
common practice of prefixing "I" or the alternative "Y" (mean- 
ing Insula, Isola, Ilha, or Innis) instead of writing out the word 
for island in one language or another. 

However, there is a recorded Arabic association of this par- 
ticular island under another name. It had been generally called 
Mam or Man, and occasionally other names, for more than a 
century before it was called Mayda. Perhaps the oldest name 
of all is Brazir, by which it appears on the map of 1367 of the 
Pizigani brothers (Fig. 2),^ a form evidently modified from 
Brazil and shared with the round island of that name then 
already more than forty ^'^ears old on the charts. The Brazil 
which we specially have to do with bears roughly and approxi- 
mately the crescent form, which later became usually more neat 
and conventionalized under the name Man or Mayda. It 
appears south (or rather a little west of south) of the circular 
Brazil, which is, as usual, west of southern Ireland and a little 
south of west of Limerick. The crescent island is also almost 
exactly in the latitude of southern Brittany, taking a point a 
little below the Isle de Sein, which still bears that name. In 
this position there may be indications of relation with both 
Brittany and Ireland. The former relation is pictorially at- 
tested by three Breton ships. One of them is shown returning 
to the mouth of the Loire. A second has barely escaped from 
the neighborhood of the fateful island. A third is being drawn 
down stern foremost by a very aggressive decapod, which drags 
overboard one of the crew; perhaps she has already shattered 
herself on the rocks, offering the opportunity of such capture 
in her disabled state. A dragon flies by with another seaman, 
apparently snatched from the submerging deck. Blurred and 
confused inscriptions in strange transitional Latin seem to warn 
us of the special dangers of navigation in this quarter ; the stav- 

s[E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 



84 MAYDA 

ing of holes in ships, the tawny monsters, known to the Arabs, 
which rise from the depths, the dragons that come flying to 
devour. The words "Arabe" and "Arabour" are readily de- 
cipherable; so is "dragones." Perhaps there is no statement that. 
Arabs have been to that island, for their peculiar experience 
may belong to some other quarter of the globe; but the verbal 
association is surely significant. The name Bentusla (Bentufla?) 
applied to this crescent island by Bianco in his map of 1448^ 
has sometimes been thought to have an Arabic origin; but one 
would not feel safe in citing this as absolute corroboration. 
The Breton character of the ships, however, may be gathered 
(as well as from their direction and behavior) from the barred 
ensigns which they cany, recalling the barred standard set up 
at Nantes of Brittany, in Dulcert's map of 1339,^ just as the 
fleur-de-lis is planted by him at Paris. 



Mayda and the Isle of Man 

We have, then, in this fourteenth-century island a direct 
recorded association with the Arabs, followed long after by 
what have been thought to be Arabic names. We have also a 
pictorial and cartographical connection with Brittany and also 
an indication of relations with Ireland. This last is fortified 
by its next and, except Mayda, its most lasting name. 

The great Catalan map of 1375® (Fig. 5) calls it Mam, which 
should doubtless be read as Man, for it was common to treat 
"m" and "n" as interchangeable, no less than "u" and "v" or 
"i" and "y-" Thus Pareto's map of 1455^ (Fig. 21) turns the Latin 
"hanc" into "hamc" and "Aragon" into "Aragom." On some of the 

< Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt-und Seekarten italienischen 
Ursprangs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of map3, Venice, 
1877-86; reference in Portfolio 11 (Facsimile della carta nautica di Andrea Bianco 
deir anno 1448), PI. 3- See also Kretschmer, text, p. 184. 

6 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather. Stockholm, 1897, PI. 8. 

^Ibid., PI. II. 

' Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 5. 



MAYDA AND THE ISLE OF MAN 85 

early maps, e. g. that of Juan da Napoli (fifteenth century),^ the 
proper spelling "Man" is retained, just as it is retained and has 
been ever since early Celtic days, in the name of the home of 
"the little Manx nation" in the Irish Sea. That the same name 
should be carried farther afield and applied to a remote island 
of the Atlantic Ocean is quite in accordance with the natural 
course of things and the general experience of mankind. No 
doubt the name Man might be derived from other sources, 
but the chances are in this instance that the Irish people whose 
navigators found Brazil Island (or imagined it, if you please) 
did the same favor for the crescent-shaped "Man," quite over- 
riding for a hundred years any preceding or competing titles. 

Almost immediately there was some competition, for the Pinelli 
map of 1384^ calls it Jonzele (possibly to be read I Onzele, a 
word which has an Italian look but is of no certain derivation), 
reducing the delineation of the island to a mere shred, bringing 
Brazil close to it, and giving the pair a more northern and more 
inshore location. Another map of about the same period follows 
this lead, but there the divergence ended. Soleri of 1385^° 
reverted to the former representation; and about the opening 
of the fifteenth century the regular showing of the pair was 
established — Brazil and Man, circle and crescent, by those 
names and in approximately the locations and relative position 
first stated. 

It is true that the crescent island is sometimes represented 
without any name, as though it were well enough known to 
make a name unnecessary. But during the fifteenth century, 
when it is called anything, with a bare exception or two, it is 
called Man. Its shape and general location are substantially 
those of the Catalan map of 1375 on the maps of Juan da Napoli ; 

8 Listed as No. 17 in Justin Winsor: The Kohl Collection (now in the Library of 
Congress) of Maps Relating to America, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C, 
1904, p. 27. 

8 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 15. 

" Ibid., PI. 18. 



86 MAYDA 

Giraldi, 1426;" Beccario, 1426^ and 1435" (Fig. 20); Bianco, 
1436 and 1448 ;i^ Benincasa, 1467^^ and 1482^^ (Fig. 22); Roselli, 
1468;^^ the Weimar map, (probabl^O about 1481;^^ Freducci, 
1497 ;^^ and others — arguing surely a robust and confident tradi- 
tion. 

Resumption of Name "Mayda" 

On sixteenth -century maps this island is still generally pre- 
sented, though lacking on those of Ruysch, 1508 i^o Coppo, 
1528^1 (Fig. 13); and Ribero, 1529122 but suddenly and almost 
completely the name Mayda in its various forms takes the place 
of Man, a substitution quite unaccounted for. There are hardly 
enough instances of survival of the older name to be worth men- 
tioning. Was there some resuscitation of old records or charts, 
now lost again, which thus overcame the Celtic claim and sup- 
plied an Arabic or at least a quite alien and unusual designation? 
The little mystery is not likely ever to be cleared up. The pre- 
viously mentioned map from the Ptolemy edition of 1 5 13 (Fig. 
11), which perhaps first introduces it, also presents several other 

11 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di 
Venezia dell' anno 1426). 

12 The section of which the author has a photograph (first published in the Geogr. 
Rev., Vol. 8, 1919, opposite p. 40, and here reproduced, Fig. 3, somewhat curtailed) 
does not extend far enough to show the island. 

13 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblio- 
teche d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia 
della Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International 
Geographical Congress, Paris, 1875, by theSodetaGeograficaltaliana, Rome, 1875; 
reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 

"A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 20.; Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 11, PI. 3- 

15 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 33. 

16 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map i. 

1' E. L. Stevenson: Facsimiles of Portolan Charts Belonging to the Hispanic 
Society of America, Pubis. Hispanic Soc. of Amer. No. 104, New York, 1916, PI. 2. 

18 W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum- 
bus, Proc. iQth Internatl. Congr. of Americanists, Held at Washington, Dec. 27-31, 
1915, [Smithsonian Institution,] Washington, D. C, 1917. PP- 469-478; map on p. 
476. 

"A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 22. 

20 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 9, map 3; also in A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas 
to the Early History of Cartography, transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, 
Stockholm, 1889, PI. 32. 

21 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 14, map 5. 

22 Ibid., PI. 15. 



TRANSFERENCE TO AMERICAN WATERS 87 

innovations in departing from the crescent form and shifting the 
island a degree or two southward ; and these changes surely seem 
to hint at some fresh information. That there was no supposed 
change of identity is shown by the fact that succeeding car- 
tographers down to and beyond the middle of that century revert 
generally to the established crescent form and to nearly the 
same place in the ocean previously occupied by Man, while 
applying the new name Mayda. Thus an anonymous Portuguese 
map of 1 5 19 or 1520,^ reproduced by Kretschmer, and the 
graduated and numbered map of Prunes, 1553^^ (Fig- 12), concur 
in placing Mayda or Mayd at about latitude 48° N., the latitude 
of Quimper, Brittany, and almost exactly the same as that 
given by the Pizigani to the crescent island on its first appear- 
ance on the maps as a clearly recognizable entity. 

Transference of Mayda to American Waters 

The maps made after the world had become more or less 
familiarized with the details of modern discoveries, in this case 
as in most others of its kind, indicate little except the dying 
out of old traditions, whatever they may have been, and hap- 
hazard or conventional substitution of locations and forms or 
the influence of the new geographic facts and theories. Thus 
Desceliers' map of 1546^^ (Fig. 9), a museum of strangely-named 
sea islands, makes the latitude of "Maidas" 47° and the longitude 
that of St. Michaels, but not long afterward Nicolay (1560;^^ 
Fig. 6) and Zaltieri (1566)2^ transferred the island to New- 
foundland waters. Nicolay calls it "I man orbolunda," and 
places it just south of the Strait of Belle Isle. It is accompanied 
by Green Island and by Brazil, a little farther out on the Grand 
Banks where the Virgin Rocks may still be found at low tide. 
Taken together these three islands look like parts of a disin- 
tegrated Newfoundland. Zaltieri of 1566 gives Maida by that 

23 Ibid., PI. 12, map 2. 

2* Ibid., PI. 4, map 5- 

25 ibid., PI. 17; also A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 51. 

22 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 27. 

2' Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 19, map 3. 



88 



MAYDA 



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Fig. 12 — Section of the Prunes map of 1553 showing May da (in latitude 48°), 
Brazil, and Estotiland ("Esthlanda"). (After Kretschmer's hand-copied reproduc- 
tion.) 



IDENTITY WITH VLAENDEREN ISLAND 89 

name more nearly the same outward location, though it is still 
distinctly American. Nicolay's name "orbolunda" is one of the 
many puzzling things connected with this island. His "Man" 
may be either a reversion to the fifteenth-century name, or, 
more likely, a modification of, or error in copying from Gas- 
taldi's map-illustration^s of Ramusio about ten years previously, 
which allots the same inclement site to an "isola de demoni" 
and depicts the little capering devils in wait there for their 
prey. It is likely, though, that Gastaldi had no thought of 
dentifying it with Mayda. But the neighborhood of the island 
of Brazil and Green Island seem nearly conclusive evidence that 
Nicolay intended I Man for Mayda and had ascribed to it, 
by reason of evil association, the supposed attributes of Gas- 
taldi's island. However, Ramusio himself in 1566,^^ the same 
year as Zaltieri, set his "Man" south of Brazil off the coast of 
Ireland. The only really important contributions of these maps 
are their testimony to the continued diabolical reports of Mayda, 
or Man, and the apparent conviction of Nicolay and Zaltieri 
that the island was after all American; a suggestion that could 
have had no meaning and no support in the times when America 
was unrecognized. Evidently these map-makers did not regard 
the inadequate western longitude of Mayda, or Man, in the 
older maps as a formidable objection. Presumably they were 
well aware how many of the insular oceanic distances as shown 
by these forerunners needed stretching in the light of later 
discovery. But their views with regard to an American Mayda 
seem to have ended with them, so far as map representation is 
concerned. 

Possible Identity of Vlaenderen Island with Mayda 

There is another curious and rather mystifying episodical 
divergence in the cartography of that period, this time on the 

28 Justin Winsor: Cartier to Frontenac: Geographical Discovery in the Interior 
of North America in Its Historical Relations, 1534-1700, with Full Cartographical 
Illustrations from Contemporary Sources, Boston and New York, 1894, P- 60. 

29 A. E. Nordenskidld, Periplus, Fig. 76, p. 163. 



90 MAYDA 

part of the great geographers Ortelius and Mercator in their 
respective series of maps during the latter part of the sixteenth 
century, for example Ortelius of 1570^ and Mercator of 1587.^^ 
Ortelius presents as Vlaenderen an oceanic island which certainly 
seems intended for Mayda (Fig. 10), while Mercator shows 
Vlaenderen as lying about half-way between Brazil and the 
usual site of Maida. The word has a Dutch or Flemish look. 
Of course there must be some explanation of it, but this is 
unknown to the writer. The natural inference would be that 
some skipper of the Low Countries thought he had happened 
upon it and reported accordingly. This was what occurred in 
the case of N^gra's Rock, now held to be wholly fictitious 
though shown in many maps; and also in the case of the sunken 
land of Buss, now generally recognized as real and as a part of 
Greenland but recorded and delineated in the wrong place by 
an error of observation. It may be that Ortelius believed in a 
rediscovery of Mayda and that for some reason it should have 
the name latest given. But, in spite of the prestige of these 
great names, Vlaenderen did not continue on the maps, while 
Mayda did, though in a rather capricious way. 

Persistence of Mayda on Maps Down to the Modern 

Period 

There would be little profit in listing the maps of the seven- 
teenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries which persisted 
by inertia and convention in the nearly stereotyped delineation 
of Mayda but, of course, with slight variations in location and 
name. Thus Nicolaas Vischer in a map of Europe of 1670 (?)^^ 
shows "L'as Maidas" in the longitude of Madeira and the latitude 
of Brittany; a world map in Robert's "Atlas Universel" (1757)^ 
gives "I. Maida" about the longitude of Madeira and the latitude 
of Gascony; and on a chart of the Atlantic Ocean published in 

30 A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas, PI. 46. 

31 Ibid., PI. 47. 

3- Copy in map collection of American Geographical Society 
33 Atlas universel, par M. Robert, Geographe ordinaire du Roy, et par M. Ro- 
bert de Vaugondy, son fils, . . . Paris, 1757, PI. 13. 



PROBABLE BASIS OF FACT 91 

New York in 1814^^ "Mayda" appears in longitude 20° W. and 
latitude 46° N. But these representations have no significance 
except as to human continuity. 

The evil reputation which was early established and seems to 
have hung about the island in later stages, assimilating the icy 
clashings and noises and terrors of the north as it had previously 
incorporated the monstrous fears of a warmer part of the ocean, 
is surely a curious phenomenon. I have fancied it may be 
responsible for the probably quite imaginary Devil Rock, 
which appears in some relatively recent maps, perhaps as a 
kind of substitute for Mayda, much in the fashion that Brazil 
Rock took the place of Brazil Island when belief in the latter 
became difficult. The present view of the U. S. Hydrographic 
Office, as expressed on its charts, is that Negra's Rock, Devil 
Rock, Green Island, or Rock, and all that tribe are unreal 
"dangers," probably reported as the result of peculiar appear- 
ances of the water surface. Whether the possibility has been 
wholly eliminated of a lance of rock jutting up to the surface 
from great depths and not yet officially recognized, I will not 
presume to say; but it seems highly improbable that there is 
anything of the sort in the North Atlantic Ocean except the 
lonely and nearly submerged peak of Rockall, some 400 miles 
west of Britain, and the well-known oceanic groups and archi- 
pelagoes. 

Probable Basis of Fact Underlying This 
Legendary Island 

What was this island, then, which held its place in the maps 
during half a millennium and more, under two chief names 
and occasional substitutes, designations apparently received 
from so many different peoples? One cannot easily set it aside 
as a "peculiar appearance of the surface" or as a mere figment 
of fancy. But there is nothing westward or southwestw^ard of the 
Azores except the Bermudas and the capes and coast islands 

^ [E. M.] Blunt 's New Chart of the Atlantic or Western Ocean, New York, 
1814. 



92 MAYDA 

of America. The identification with some outlying island of 
the Azores, as Corvo, for example, is an old hypothesis; and the 
grotesquery of that rocky islet seems to have deeply impressed 
the minds of early navigators, lending some countenance to 
the idea. But the Laurenziano map of 1351^^ and the Book of 
the Spanish Friar^^ show that all the islands of the Azores 
group were known before the middle of the fourteenth century, 
and Corvo in particular had been given the name which it still 
holds. Man, afterward Mayda, appears on many maps of the 
fifteenth century, which show also the Azores in full. Perhaps 
this is not conclusive, for there are strange blunders and duplica- 
tions on old maps; but it is at least highly significant. If Man, 
or Mayda, were really Corvo or another island of the Azores 
group, surely someone would have found it out in the course 
of the fifteenth or sixteenth century, just as it came to be per- 
ceived after a time that the Azores had been located too near 
to Europe and just as Bianco's duplication of the Azores in 
1448 had finally to be rejected. Mayda, if real, must have been 
something more remote and difficult to determine than Corvo. 
Perhaps Nicolay and Zaltieri were right in thinking that 
Mayda was America, or at least was on the side of the Atlantic 
toward America. The latitude generally chosen by the maps 
would then call for Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland, often 
supposed to be insular in early days; or perhaps for Cape Breton 
Island, the next salient land feature. But that is an uncertain 
reliance, for the observations of pre-Columbian navigators 
would surely be rather haphazard, and they might naturally 
judge by similarity of climate. This would justify them in 
supposing that a region really more southerly lay in the latitude 
of northern France — for example Cape Cod, which juts out 

35 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio s (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano-Gaddiano 
dell' anno 1351). PI- 4- 

38 Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are in 
the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the Kings 
and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle of the 
14th centurj', published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jimenez de la Es- 
pada in 1877, translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyi Soc. 
Pubis., 2nd Ser., Vol. 29, London, 1912, p. 29. 



PROBABLE BASIS OF FACT 93 

conspicuously and is curved and almost insular. Or by going 
farther south, although nearer Europe, they might thus indicate 
the Bermudas, the main island of which is given a crescent form 
on several relatively late maps. But we must not lay too much 
stress on this last item, for divers other map islands were modeled 
on this plan. We may be justified, then, in saying that Mayda 
was probably west of the middle of the Atlantic and that Ber- 
muda, Cape Cod, or Cape Breton is as likely a candidate for 
identification as we can name. 



CHAPTER VII 

GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

The first account of Greenland given to the world, indeed the 
first mention of that region in literature, is by Adam of Bremen, 
an ecclesiastical official and geographical author. 

Adam of Bremen's Account of Greenland 

He interviewed in 1069 the enterprising king Sweyn of Den- 
mark, and acquired from him divers Scandinavian and other 
northern items which Adam embodied about 1076 in his work 
"Descriptio Insularum Aquilonis," the Description of the North- 
ern Islands. Nansen quotes, with other matter, the following 
passages : ^ 

. . . On the north this ocean flows past the Orchades, thence end- 
lessly around the circle of the earth, having on the left Hybernia, the 
home of the Scots, which is now called Ireland, and on the right the 
skerries of Nordmannia, and farther off the islands of Iceland and Green- 
land. . . 

Furthermore, there are many other islands in the great ocean, of which 
Greenland is not the least; it lies farther out in the ocean, opposite the 
mountains of Suedea, or the Riphean range. To this island, it is said, one 
can sail from the shore of Nortmannia [sic] in five or seven days, as like- 
wise to Iceland. The people there are blue ("cerulei", bluish-green) from 
the salt water; and from this the region takes its nam.e. They live in a 
similar fashion to the Icelanders, except that they are more cruel and 
trouble seafarers by predatory attacks. To them also, as is reported, 
Christianity has lately been wafted. 

It was in fact about seventy-five years since Leif, son of Eric 
the Red, according to the sagas, had efTected that wafting from 
the Christian court of Norway to the still pagan Norsemen of his 

1 Fridtjof Nansen: In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, 
transl. by A. G. Chater, 2 vols., New York, 191 1; reference in Vol. i, pp. 192 and 
194- 



INSULAR CHARACTER 95 

father's far-western domain. For Adam clearly means these white 
people and not the Eskimos, with whom they had not yet come 
in contact and of whom no whisper had yet reached the European 
world unless it related to relics of former occupancy discerned 
on first landing. It is surely matter for astonishment to find the 
ruddy followers of hot-blooded Eric described as bluish-green 
and so conspicuous in this complexion that it gave their region 
its name. Perhaps there is no more curious instance to be found 
of the inveterate human tendency to read into any unfamiliar 
name some meaning that seems plausible. 

It is not clear where Adam supposed Greenland to be located ; 
perhaps he, too, was not clear about the matter. The earlier of 
his two passages on the subject seems to call for something like 
the true location in the far west; but the later mention of the 
mountains of Sweden has been understood by the most learned 
commentators to indicate a site directly north of Norway. King 
Sweyn perhaps had a fairly good idea of the sailing courses for 
Iceland and Greenland, but his guest may have assimilated the 
information rather confusedly. Adam seems convinced that 
Greenland was a distinctly oceanic island, with no suggestion 
of any near relation to any continent. In this respect he differs 
from certain maps of the fifteenth century with which we shall 
presently have to deal. We know now that the truth lies between 
these views; that the highly glaciated mass which we name in its 
entirety Greenland is, indeed, an island and probably the largest 
of islands but an island with the aspect and attributes of a 
peninsula, being barely severed from that polar archipelago which 
crowns our American mainland and being not very remote at 
one point from the mainland itself. 

Its Insular Character 

Adam's idea of oceanic insulation was accepted in many 
quarters, as the maps disclose. Of course, they may not have 
derived it from him in all instances, directly or indirectly, but at 
least they shared it. Usually the name, slightly changed, becomes 
the equivalent "Green Island" in one or another of several 



96 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

languages. Thus, to take a very late instance, the map of 
Coppo, 1528^ (Fig. 13), discloses near the true site of Greenland 
a mass of land elongated from east to west, but clearly all at sea 
with no greater land near it, and labeled Isola Verde. There 
seems no room for doubt of the meaning or origin of this name. 
That any land found there should be an island of the sea was the 
natural assumption of geographers at that time. Maps of the 
early sixteenth century generally show a scattering of islands 
south of North America sometimes approaching an archipelago, 
sometimes more widely distributed, and in either case being 
substitutes for what we now know as North America and its 
appendages. 

As "Illa Verde" on the Catalan Map of 1480 

In another well-known map^ (Fig. 7), an unnamed cartographer, 
said to be Catalan, probably about 1480, delineates an elongated 
Ilia Verde (using the Portuguese name for island), locating it 
southwest of Iceland, which bears the name Fixlanda, but is 
easily identifiable by its outline and geographical features. His 
Ilia Verde runs nearly north and south, approximating more 
closely than Coppo's island the true trend of Greenland. It 
also by its greater bulk seems founded on more adequate informa- 
tion. It is equally at sea and remote from other land, except that 
off its concave southern end, with a narrow interval, lies a large 
circular island named Brazil, our old mythical acquaintance of 
medieval maps not often located so far westward but, as we have 
seen in Chapter IV, apparently intended to represent the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence region. These two islands strikingly resemble in 
general situation and arrangement the Greenland and Estotiland 
(Labrador) in a map (Fig. 14) illustrating Torfaeus' early eight- 

2 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 14, map 5. 

3 A. E. Nordenskiold: Bidrag till nordens aldsta kartografi, Stockholm, 1892, 
PI. 5. Also (reduced) in Hansen (Vol. 2, p. 285), and in T. J. Westropp: Brasil and 
the Legendary Islands of the North Atlantic: Their History and Fable, Proc. Royal 
Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13, PP- 223-260; see PI. 20, opp. p. 260. 



ON SIXTEENTH-CENTURY MAPS 



97 



eenth century "Gronlandia,"^ except that the rounded outline 
of Estotiland is not completed, its proportional area is greater 
than "Brazil," the strait between the two bodies of land is a 
little wider, and the lower end of Torfaeus' Greenland is not 
made concave like that of Ilia Verde. But again there can be 




Fig. 13 — Coppo's world map of 1528 showing Green Island ("isola verde"). 
(After Kretschmer's hand-copied reproduction.) 

no doubt that the Ilia Verde of the Catalan (if he were a Catalan) 
represents the Greenland of Adam of Bremen and the sagas. 

Green Island on Sixteenth-Century Maps 

To the same origin, in a remoter sense, we may ascribe the 
rather large Insula Viridis of Schoner, 1520,^ which is brought 
down to a latitude between that of southern Ireland and that of 
northern Spain and something east of mid-ocean. It must seem 
that the map-maker had quite lost sight of any relation between 
this Latinized Green Island and the true Greenland of the 
northwest. 

* Thormodus Torfaeus: Gronlandia Antiqua seu veteris Gronlandiae descriptio, 
Copenhagen, 1706; Tabula I, facing p. 20. 
5 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 13. 



98 



GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 







Fig. 14 — Bishop Thorlaksson's map of Greenland 1606, showing E^totiland as a 
part of America. Cf. with Fig. 18. (From Torfaeus' "Gronlandia antiqua," Copen- 
hagen, 1706, in the library of the American Geographical Society.) 

This is even more obviously true of Nicolay's map of 1560® 
(Fig. 6), which carries Verde into the Newfoundland Banks, even 
nearer than his Brazil to a broken-up Newfoundland; and of 
Zaltieri's map of 1566,'^ which plants Verde rather close to 
"C. Ras" (Cape Race), with only a narrow strip of water between. 
These cartographers undoubtedly indicated American habitats 
for their little island; but they can have had no thought of con- 



«A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 27. 
^ Kretschmer. atlas, PI. 19, map 3. 



SHRINKAGE OF NAME 99 

fusing It with Greenland, which they well knew and which Zaltieri 
distinctly shows as Grutlandia. They would be far from admit- 
ting a common origin. Perhaps in most of such northern cases a 
conception like Coppo's of Greenland as an oceanic island is at 
the root of the derivation ; but successive copyings, modifications, 
and shiftings may have altered the area, form, and location, while 
the clue was gradually lost and only the name remained — hardly 
as a reminder, for it is of too general descriptive application. 

Various "Green Islands:" Shrinkage of the Name 

There is, indeed, one instance of a Green Island with which 
Greenland can have had nothing whatever to do. Peter Martyr 
d'Anghiera's sketch map of 1511^ shows a small tropical Isla 
Verde near Trinidad; it is apparently Tobago. Doubtless its 
luxuriance of vegetation prompted the name. 

This may have happened in other instances of warm climates 
or even in temperate zones where grass and foliage grow freely; 
so that we in many cases cannot distinguish on the maps the 
Green Islands, real or fanciful, which acquired their name as a 
remote legacy of Eric's land from those which were called "green" 
simply because they were green. Both derivations may some- 
times apply; but the islands of the far northwest bearing that 
name, like Coppo's island and the Catalan's Ilia Verde, must 
naturally go into the former category. 

As we have seen, Green Islands were scattered rather widely; 
but the name occurs most often in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries In the middle or eastern part of the ocean to indicate 
a small island, having May da (Vlaenderen) for its rather distant 
consort. Desceliers indeed, in 1546^ (Fig. 9), shows it in the sam.e 
longitude as the tip of Labrador, but this is done by carrying 
Labrador too far eastward. St. Brandan's Island is a neighbor 
on his map. OrteHus, in 1570^° (Fig. 10) and Mercator, in 1587," 

*A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, p. 67. 
9 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 17. 
1" A. E. Nordenskiold, Facsimile-Atlas, PI. 46. 
" Ibid., PI. 47. 



100 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

represent Y Verde west of Vlaenderen in the region north of the 
Azores. In the eighteenth centur}^ it still held its ground west of 
France in the eastern Atlantic as Isla Verde, Isla Verte, He 
Verte, Ilha Verde, and Green Island. By the early part of the 
nineteenth century it had, after its kind, dwindled to Green Rock 
— Brazil Island similarly becoming Brazil Rock — as dubious 
rocks became easier to believe in than dubious islands. Perhaps 
the well-known actual instances of Rockall and the Virgin 
Rocks may have prompted credence in other spears and knolls 
of the earth crust here and there reaching the surface. 

The Hydrographic Office does not believe in any such Green 
Rock or Green Island but supplies, in a letter to the writer, a 
mariner's yarn which is not without interest and may be evidence 
for the rock as far as it goes. 

"Captain Tulloch, of New Hampshire, states that an acquaint- 
ance of his, Captain Coombs, of the ship Pallas, of Bath, Maine, 
in keeping a lookout for Green Island actually saw it on a 
remiarkably fine day when the sea was smooth. According to the 
story, he went out in his boat and examined it and found it to be 
a large rock covered with green moss. The rock did not seem 
much larger than a vessel floating bottom upward, and it was 
smooth all around. The summit was higher than a vessel's 
bottom would appear out of the water, being about twenty feet 
above the surface of the sea. Captain Coombs added that if the 
object had not been so high he would have thought it to be a 
capsized vessel. A sounding taken near this spot shows that a 
depth of 1,500 fathoms exists there." 

So Greenland, misunderstood and carried southward, dwindles 
to what may be taken for a capsized vessel's hull, the existence 
of which is denied by those who best should know. Or, to take 
it the other way about, the traditions of Green Island, dwindling, 
prompted the mariner's fancy to develop a Green Rock; and 
Green Island is in numerous instances derived mainly, even if 
remotely, from Greenland, reinforced sometimes by implications 
of attractiveness. 



ORIGIN OF NAME AND JUSTIFICATION loi 

Origin of the Name "Greenland" and Its Justification 

There can be no doubt that the Down East sea captain, who 
was so quick to perceive green vegetation on his fancied Green 
Island, came nearer the true explanation of Greenland's name 
than the good prebendary of Bremen with his bluish-green 
Norsemen colored by the sea. It is pretty well understood that 
about 985 or 986 Eric Rauda (Eric the Red, or Ruddy), the first 
explorer and colonizer of this new region, applied the name at 
least partly as an advertisement of fertility and promising con- 
ditions for the encouragement of Icelandic colonists. This is 
the way Ari Erode (the Wise), the best informed man of Iceland, 
puts it in his surviving Libellus of the "Islendingabok" about a 
century later :^ 

This country which is called Greenland was discovered and colonized 
from Iceland. Eric the Red was the name of the man, an inhabitant of 
Breidafirth, who went thither from here and settled at that place, which 
has since been called Ericsfirth. He gave a name to the country and called 
it Greenland and said that it must persuade men to go thither if it had a 
good name. They found there both east and west in the country the 
dwellings of men and fragments of boats and stone implements such that 
it might be perceived from these that that manner of people had been 
there who have inhabited Wineland and whom Greenlanders call Skrae- 
lings. And this when he set about the colonization of the country was 
fourteen or fifteen winters before the introduction of Christianity here in 
Iceland, according to what a certain man who himself accompanied Eric 
the Red thither informed Thorkell Gellison. 

This last was an uncle of Ari, a man of liberal and inquiring 
mind and one of Ari's most valued sources of knowledge as 
to the affairs of earlier generations. 

The passage has been often quoted, but that Eric was largely 
justified in his nomenclature is less generally known. Greenland 
to the intending colonists would naturally mean not the ice- 
enshrouded waste of the almost continental interior nor yet the 
forbidding cliffs of the eastern coast guarded by a nearly impas- 
sable floe-laden Arctic current, but the really habitable thousand- 
mile fringe of uncovered land along the southwestern shore, on 

12 Quoted by Nansen in his "In Northern Mists," Vol. i, p. 260. 



102 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

the average fifty miles wide and occasionally much wider. It 
w^as partly shut in by forbidding headlands and perverse currents, 
but feasible of access when the true course was disclosed. Some 
parts of this region were, and still are, green with grass and bright 
with summ.er flowers. Nansen, who certainly ought to know, 
declares that the Greenland sites chosen would have seemed 
more attractive than Iceland to an Icelander. Rink, who was 
connected with the Greenland government for a full generation, 
mentions certain places with special approval and regards life 
in most parts of the inhabited region quite contentedly.^^ Pro- 
fessor Hovgaard tells us:^^ 

Icelandic Settlement 

It was on this strip of land that the Icelanders settled at the end of the 
tenth century. Though barren on the outer shores and islands and on the 
hills, it is covered at the inner part of the fiords on the low level by a rich 
growth of grass together with stunted birch trees and various bushes, par- 
ticularly willows. On the north side of the valleys crowberries {Empetrum 
nigrum) may be found. . . 

Eric settled in Ericsfiord, the present Tunugdliarfik, at a place which 
he called Brattahlid, now Kagsiarsuk, in 985 or 986. Two distinct colonies 
were founded, the Eastern Settlement, extending from about Cape Fare- 
well to a point well beyond Cape Desolation, comprising the whole of 
Julianehaab Bay and the coast past Ivigtut, and the Western Settlement, 
beginning about one hundred and seventy miles farther north at Lysu- 
fiord, [i.e. Agnafiord], the present Ameralikfiord, comprising the district 
of Godthaab. 

The fiord next Ericsfiord in the Eastern Settlement was Einarsfiord, 
now Igalikofiord. These fiords were separated at their head by a low and 
narrow strip of land, the present Igaliko Isthmus. It was here, at Gardar, 
that the Althing of Greenland met, and here was also found the bishop's 
seat, established at the beginning of the twelfth century. There were as 
many as sixteen churches in Greenland, for almost every fiord had its own 
church on account of the long distances and difficult traveling between 
the fiords. 

The unfamiliar localities above named may be followed by 
the aid of the accompanying map (Fig. 15) copied from Finnur 

^' Henry Rink: Danish Greenland, Its People and Its Products, London, 1877, 
pp. 306-312 and passim. 

1* William Hovgaard: The Voyages of the Norsemen to America (Scandinavian 
Monographs, Vol. 1), American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, 1914, pp. 
25 and 26. 



ICELANDIC SETTLEMENT 



103 



J6nsson*s maps,^^ which embody the results of the research 
of the best experts and scholars with the aid of relics on the 
ground and surviving records. It is apparent that from the 
first to last the heart of Greenland was about the low, fairly 




Fig. is — Map of the early Norse Western and Eastern Settlements of Greenland. 
Scale 1:6,400,000. (The inset below, 1:70,000,000, shows the relation of Norway, 
Iceland, and Greenland.) 



fertile, favorable tract near the heads of the two fiords named 
for Eric and his friend, Einar, and not far from Eric's Green- 
land home. The Western Settlement was a comparatively 
small offshoot, with four churches only, yet it contrived to main- 
tain existence for between three and four centuries, being at last 

15 Finnur Jonsson: Gronlands gamle" Topografi efter Kilderne: Osterbygden og 
Vesterbygden, Meddelelser om Gronland, Vol. 20 (text, pp. 267-329), Pis. 2 and 3, 
1899. 



I04 



GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 



obliterated, as is supposed, by the 
was still more enduring, having 
half a millennium, a history not 
far more populous and powerful 
This seems marvelous, if it be 
never exceeded 2,000 souls, as 



Eskimos. The main settlement 
a continuous record of nearly 
surpassed in duration by some 
nations. 

true that the entire population 
Nansen and Hovgaard have 




Fig. 16 — Section of the Clavus map of 1427 showing Greenland continuous with 
Europe. (After Joseph Fischer's hand-copied reproduction.) 

supposed. Rink, on the other hand, estimated the maximum 
at 10,000.^® Some intermediate number would seem more likely 
than either extreme, if we may hazard a conjecture where 
doctors disagree. The prosperity of the colony, such as it was, 
seems to have been at its best in the eleventh and twelfth cen- 
turies but was never conspicuous enough to get an outline of 
Greenland into the maps until about the time of final extinction. 



Op. cit., p. 27. 



GREENLAND AS A PENINSULA 105 

Greenland as a Peninsula 

We must remember, though, that during the earlier part of 
this period there were not many maps extant which included the 
Atlantic, and of these the greater number were more concerned 
with theological conceptions and figures of wonder than with the 
sober facts of geography, especially in remote places. About 1300 
a remarkable series of navigators' portolan maps, revolutionizing 
this attitude, began to add to the delineation of the Mediter- 
ranean, which they had already developed with considerable 
minuteness, somxCthing definite of the outer European coasts, 
islands, and waters. Step by step they advanced into the 
unknown or little known, but perhaps none of them, before the 
fifteenth century, can be confidently relied on as indicating 
Greenland. 

This remained for the Nancy map of Claudius Clavus 
(Schwartz), 1427^^ (Fig. 16). Greenland is, however, made dis- 
tinctly continuous with Europe, being connected thereto by a 
long land bridge, far north of Iceland, in accordance with an 
hypothesis then prevailing. The second half of the same century 
saw this conception of Claudius Clavus greatly popularized. 
Divers maps^^ appeared, some showing Greenland as a prodig- 
iously elongated peninsula of Europe, having its tip in the correct 
location (Fig. 17), while others ran up a perverse trapezoidal 
Greenland from the north coast of Norway. 

Probably one or more of the former kind suggested in part the 
memorable Zeno map of 1558^^ (Fig. 19), professing to be a 
reproduction of a map prepared by the Zeni of a past generation 
and carelessly damaged by the final editor in boyhood. If not a 
total forgery, it is at least untrustworthy, as we shall see in 

1^ a. E. Nordenskiold, Facsimile-Atlas, p. 49. Also copied by Joseph Fischer: 
The Discoveries of the Norsemen in America, With Special Relation to Their E^rly 
Cartographical Representation, transl. by B. H. Soulsby, London, 1903, p. 70. 

18 Joseph Fischer, Pis. 1-8. See also the map of Henricus Martillus Germanus 
(1489) in E. G. Ravenstein: Martin Behaim, His Life and His Globe, London, 1908, 
p. 67. The name Greenland does not appear on the latter map, but the peninsula 
is there. 

19 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 4; better facsimile reproductions in the works by 
Major and Lucas cited in footnotes i and 2, Ch. IX. 



io6 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

Chapter IX, and the same is true of an accompanying narrative 
of experiences in Greenland about 1400. 

Another map of somewhat later date, by Sigurdr Stefdnsson, 
probably 1590^*^ (Fig. 18), is a quite honest presentation of the 
traditional views of Icelanders at that time and is distinctly more 
modem than the Zeno map in the complete severance of Green- 
land from Europe and its union with the great western land mass 
which included Helluland, Markland, and Vinland, supposed to 
be divided by a fiord from "America of the Spaniards." Of course, 
that union with the Western continent is not precisely accurate 
and the eastward trend which he gives his great peninsula is still 
less so; but his map, often copied, remains a peculiarly interesting 
production. 

Life of the Icelandic Colony 

To hark back to Adam of Bremen, the charges of special cruelty 
and predatory attacks on seafarers in the middle of the eleventh 
century awaken some surprise. The life of the people seems 
simple and innocent enough, as disclosed by their relics and 
remnants, which have been unearthed with great care. As seal 
bones predominate in their refuse piles, this offshore supply 
must have been their greatest reliance for animal food ; but they 
had also sheep, goats, and a small breed of cattle. They spun 
wool and wove it; they carved vessels of soapstone, sometimes 
with decoration; they milked cows and made butter; they 
exported sealskins, ropes of walrus hide, and walrus tusks; they 
paid tithes to the Pope in such commodities ; they boiled seal fat 
and made seal tar; they gathered tree trunks as driftwood far 

20Thormodus Torfaeus: Gronlandia Antigua, seu veteris Gronlandiae descriptio, 
Copenhagen, 1706, Tabula II, after p. 20. Also reproduced by Gustav Storm: 
Studies on the Vineland Voyages, Memoir es Soc. Royale des Anliquaires du Nord 
(Copenhagen), N. S., 1884-89, pp. 307-370 (map on p. 333); by Fridtjof Nansen: 
In Northern Mists, Vol. 2, p. 7; and by W. H. Babcock: Early Norse Visits to North 
America, Smithsonian Misc. Colls., Vol. 59, No. 19, Washington, D. C, 1913. map 
facing p. 62; by Hovgaard, op. cit., opp. p. 118. These are two versions, the one 
appearing in Torfaeus (1706), reproduced herewith (Fig. 18) and by Nansen, the 
other a copy of about 1670 belonging to Bishop Thordr Thorlaksson, now preserved 
in the Royal Library of Copenhagen (Old Collection, No. 2881, 4to), of Stefans- 
son's original map, which was lost. The earlier version is reproduced by Storm, 
Babcock, and Hovgaard. 



LIFE OF THE ICELANDIC COLONY 



107 



up the coast and probably brought back cargoes of timber from 
Markland; they built substantial houses and churches, using 
huge stones in some cases. But they had to import grain, iron, 




Fig. 18 — Sigurdr Stefansson's map of Greenland, 1590, showing the severance of 
Greenland from Europe and its union with the western land mass which includes 
Helluland, Markland, and Vinland. Cf. with Fig. 14. (From Torfaeus' "Gron- 
landia antiqua," Copenhagen, 1706, in the library of the American Geographical 
Society.) 



and many other articles from Europe; and the infrequent visits 
of ships from Iceland, Norway, and elsewhere must have made 
a break in the monotony of their lives which they could ill 
afford to forego. One would expect them to be especially kind 
to such visitors. 



io8 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

On the other hand, the belligerent spirit which kept up the 
bloody feuds of Iceland would not quickly have lapsed from these 
transplanted Icelanders in their new home. Moreover, there 
were thralls among them and the irritations growing out of 
thralldom. Also, while much of their daily routine was quiet 
enough, they were subject to savage weather and perils of 
navigation, of the fisheries, of hunting far up the coast, where 
many of them maintained stations for that purpose at Krog- 
fiordsheath and other points. Even in getting to Greenland Eric 
was able to carry through only about half of the ships that sailed 
with him, and Gudrid and Thorbiorn, coming later, incurred 
ample experiences of storm and danger. These wild elements of 
life would tend to enhance a certain recklessness; and the law 
must have been impotent to maintain order in remote fiords 
and headlands, even if it had sought to do so. 

In the Floamanna Saga, dealing with events not long after the 
very first settlement, the thralls of Thorgils murder his young 
wife on the eastern coast, where they had all been cast ashore 
together. In another of the Greenland tales there is a bloody 
contention, freely involving homicide, over the claims of the 
church upon the contents of two ships which had come to grief. 
No doubt such instances might be multiplied; but in the main 
we may believe that the lives of the Greenlanders went orderly 
enough in common grooves of very primitive husbandry and 
fishing. Adam may have judged by reports of visitors with a 
grievance, narrated at second or third hand. 

If Greenland had a long history, it was that of a few people in 
a remote region and could not present many salient features. 
The colony possessed at least one monastery and the beginning 
of a literature, including, it is said, the Lay of Atli, revealing a 
curious interest in the career of the great Hun Attila, on the part 
of a distant colonist hidden in Arctic mists and writing beside 
the glaciers. In art, as distinguished from literature, they seem 
to have made few advances, if any, beyond mere ornamental 
carving or designing on a plane hardly surpassing that of the 
Eskimos. 



EXPLORATIONS OF EARLY GREENLANDERS 109 

Explorations of Early Greenlanders 

But in seamanship and exploration their achievements, 
considering their numbers and resources, were really wonderful. 
All experts agree that Eric's first exploration was daring, skillful, 
persistent, and exhaustive, according to the best modern stand- 
ards, and that his selection of settlement sites was exceedingly- 
judicious; in fact, could not have been improved upon. Then 
followed in less than twenty years the discovery of the American 
mainland by Eric's son Leif (or, as some say, by one Biami, 
followed by Leif) and a series of other voyages, including Thor- 
finn Karlsefni's prolonged effort to colonize, involving the tracing 
of the American coast line from at least upper Labrador to some 
point south of Newfoundland. The precise lower limit is matter 
of dispute, but, according to the better opinion, may be found 
somewhere on the front of southern New England. These were 
followed in 1121 by the missionary journey, as it seems to have 
been, of Bishop Eric Gnupsson, who then sailed out of Greenland 
for Vinland, we do not know with what result. Subsequent 
communication with parts of the American continent was 
probably not uncommon, as has been inferred from the accidental 
arrival in 1347 of a ship which had sailed from Greenland to 
Markland and been storm-driven from the latter westward. 
It pursued its course to Norway. 

In the opposite (northern) direction we know of at least two 
venturesome voyages up Baffin Bay, and, as the records have 
reached us almost by accident, we may naturally conjecture 
many m^ore. 

A British exploring expedition in 1824 acquired a small stone 
inscribed with runic characters near some beacons on an island 
north of Upernivik on the upper northwestern coast of Greenland. 
The original is lost, but a duplicate of it is preserved in the 
Copenhagen National Museum. Divers copies ^^ have been 
published. The inscription is thought to date from about 1300, 
but, of course, may relate to a much earlier event. It has been 

'1 Hovgaard, p. 39. 



no GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

translated by various runologists, with differences in detail. 

As given by Professor Hovgaard, it reads: 

Erling Sigvatsson and Bjarne Thordarson and Endride Oddson built 
this (or these) beacon(s) Saturday after "Gagnday" (April 25th) and 
cleared (the place) (or made the inscription) 1135 (?). 

The year is reported with some uncertainty; and it must be owned 
that the body of the text offers several alternatives. Such a 
memorial would more naturally be put up by the men who built 
the beacons or those of about their time than by a later genera- 
tion to commemorate the not vitally important doings of those 
who were dead and gone. The year 1300 seems a little late for 
venturing so far, as it was about the beginning of a period of 
decadence and less than forty years before the Western Settle- 
ment vanished altogether. The date 1135 would better accord 
with the climax of Norse strenuousness and Greenland adven- 
ture. Perhaps the runes were carved in the stone earlier than the 
runologists suppose. But, whether the original visit took place 
in the twelfth century or the fourteenth, and whether the stone 
denotes two Norse visits to this place or only one, it is still con- 
clusive that some Greenlanders had explored well to the north- 
ward along the shore of Bafffn Bay in the time of the old colony. 

A more extensive exploration was undertaken in 1266 by the 
clergy, apparently of the Bishop's seat, since they traveled home 
to Gardar. It appears that certain men had been farther north 
than usual but reported no sign of previous occupancy by the 
Eskimos (who seem by this time to have awakened some concern 
among the Norsemen) except at the unusually broad reindeer- 
pasture land and hunting ground of Krogfiordsheath, a little 
below Disko Bay. This made a good starting point for the ship, 
which was thereupon sent "northward in order to explore the 
regions north of the farthest point which they had hitherto 
visited," apparently with a special view of getting more light 
on the whereabouts of the heathen and their line of approach. 
In these regards the adventure was barren; but the narrative of 
one of the priests is interesting so far as it goes:^ 

22 Often quoted, e. g. by Hovgaard, p. 37. 



THE ESKIMOS in 

. . . they sailed out from Krogfiordsheath, until they lost sight of 
the land. Then they had a south wind against them and darkness, and 
they had to let the ship go before the wind; but when the storm ceased 
and it cleared up again, they saw many islands and all kinds of game, 
both seals and whales and a great number of bears. They came right into 
the sea-bay and lost sight of all the land, both the southern coast and the 
glaciers; but south of them were also glaciers as far as they could see. 

That was their farthest point. They then sailed southward, 
reaching Krogfiordsheath again and eventually Gardar. On the 
way they had noticed some abandoned Eskimo houses but no 
living Eskimos. 

There is some attempt to indicate latitude by the way shadows 
fell in a boat. Also we are told, apparently meaning midsummer 
or a little later: "at midnight the sun was as high as at home in 
the settlement when it is in northwest." But speculations as to 
their course and distance have given varying results. Some think 
they may even have passed into Smith Sound ; others that they 
may have crossed the Middle Water to the western shore of 
Bafifin Bay, seeing south of them the glaciers of northeastern 
Baffin Land; others still that they did not get very far above 
Upernivik; but, whatever the exact limit, it seems to have been 
a notable bit of Arctic exploration, prosecuted rather at random 
and with scant resources. 

The Eskimos 

The Eskimos (Skraelings) are referred to in this account as if 
already known to the settlers, though uncertain as to their 
home quarters and mysterious in their coming and going. Prob- 
ably there had been some contact, not wholly friendly, between 
outranging members of the two races. The Historia Norvegiae,^^ 
a manuscript of the same century discovered in Scotland, says: 

Beyond the Greenlanders toward the north their hunters came across 
a kind of small people called Skraelings. When they are wounded alive 
their wound becomes white without issue of blood; but the blood scarcely 
ceases to stream out of them when they are dead. 

^ Pp. 69-124 in Gustav Storm: Monumenta historica Norvegiae, Christiania, 
1880; reference on p. 76. In English, e. g. in Hovgaard, p. 167. 



112 GREENLAND OR GREEN ISLAND 

Whatever may be thought of this magical oddity of surgery, it 
at least seems to imply authentically some experiments in piercing 
or slashing the living. Whether such collision was a matter of 
the thirteenth century only or had first occurred in the twelfth or 
still earlier we cannot say. The Eskimo race was the ominous 
shadow of the Norse colonist from the beginning, though long 
unrecognized as a menace. Apparently there had been a tempo- 
rary movement of these people down the western coast about the 
tenth century, withdrawing before the first white men appeared. 
After that for generations, perhaps centuries, the weaker heathen 
wisely kept out of sight, either beyond the water or at hunting 
grounds far up the Greenland coast. At last they moved nearer, 
and there was occasional contact while still the Norsemen were 
formidable. But by the fourteenth century Norse Greenland 
had begun to dwindle in power and population, with diminishing 
aid and reinforcement from Europe, and the danger drew 
nearer. Perhaps there was some special impulsion of the un- 
civilized people which resulted in the obliteration of the Western 
Norse Settlement, always relatively feeble. Some rumor of its 
need having reached the Eastern Settlement, an expedition of 
relief was dispatched about 1337, or perhaps a little later, accom- 
panied by Ivar Bardsen, then or afterward steward of the 
Bishop, who tells the tale. Only a few stray cattle were found; 
presumably the colonists had been killed or carried away. 

The ground thus lost could not be regained. On the contrary, 
we may suppose the Eskimos to be getting stronger and drawing 
nearer. In 1355 an expedition under Paul Knutson came out to 
reinforce the Norsemen; but it returned home in or before 1364 
and can have made only a temporary lightening of the load. 
In 1379 there seems to have been an Eskimo attack, costing the 
Norsemen 18 of their few men. But peace may have reigned as a 
rule. At any rate, the ordinary functions of life went on, for it 
is of record that a young Icelander, visiting Greenland, was 
married by the Bishop at Gardar in 1409; and the last visit of 
the Norwegian knorr, or supply ship, occurred by way of Ice- 
land in 1410. 



THE ESKIMOS 113 

After that nothing is certainly known. There are two papal 
letters at diiierent periods of the century, based on very ques- 
tionable hearsay information and indicating confusion and gen- 
eral falling away. There was even a futile effort to reopen 
communication in 1492. Probably by that time the Norsemen 
and Norse women were all dead or married to the Eskimos. 
That particular form of primitive heathendom seems to have 
absorbed them. 

Greenland was to be rediscovered and repeopled in due season ; 
but for the time being it had become in European knowledge only 
a half-forgotten figure on certain maps, sometimes given with 
fair accuracy of outline but sometimes also as an oceanic Green 
Island of only indirect relation to reality and passing its name 
on to little islands and even fancied rocks far at sea, which 
owned nothing in common with the far northern region except 
a part of its name. 



CHAPTER VIII 

MARKLAND, OTHERWISE NEWFOUNDLAND 

The name Markland, meaning Forest Land, must be, in 
one language or another, among the oldest geographical designa- 
tions known among men. Nothing could be more natural to 
even the most primitive people than to distinguish in this way 
any heavily overgrown region which especially challenged 
attention, perhaps as a refuge or as a barrier. Its appearance 
in any form of record was, of course, very much later. As to 
Atlantic regions, the earliest instance other than Norse may be 
the "Insula de Legname" of certain fourteenth- and fifteenth- 
century portolan charts,^ evidently given by some Genoese or 
other Italian navigator to Madeira, the latter name being a 
translation of the former, substituted by the Portuguese^ after 
their rediscovery. Thus we might say that this island was the 
origmal western Markland, but for the fact that certain Green- 
land Norsemen had afhxed the name long before to a region 
much farther west. 

First Norse Account, In Hauk's Book 

The earliest manuscript of the first distinct account of the 
Norse Markland is included in the compilation known as Hauk's 

1 Portolano Laurenziano-Gaddiano, 1351; see PI. 5 of facsimile in Portfolio 5 of 
Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italienischen 
Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, Venice, 
1877-1886. 

Catalan atlas, I37S. Pis. 11-14 in A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on 
the Early History of Charts and Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stock- 
holm, 1897. 

Pareto map, 1455, PI. 5 in atlas accompanying Konrad Kretschmer: Die Ent- 
deckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, 
(text and atlas), Berlin, 1892 (our Fig. 21). 

2 M. A. P. d'Avezac: Notice des decouvertes faites au Moyen-Age dans I'Ocean 
Atlantique anterieurement aux grandes explorations portugaises du quinzieme 
siecle, Paris, 1845, pp. 8-9. See "I de Madera" on Benincasa map, 1482, in Kretsch- 
mer, atlas, PI. 4 (our Fig. 22), 



THE ARNA-MAGNAEAN ACCOUNT 115 

Book,^ from Hauk Erlendsson, for whom and partly by whom it 
was prepared, necessarily before his death in 1334, but probably 
after he was given a certain title in 1305. Perhaps 1330 may 
mark the time of its completion. Along with divers other 
documents, it copies from some unknown original the saga of 
Eric the Red, sometimes called the, saga of Thorfinn Karlsefni, 
an ancestor of the compiler, whose adventures as an early 
explorer of northeastern North America constitute a conspicuous 
feature of the narrative. Some parts of the saga of Eric the Red 
as thus transcribed, especially toward its ending, cannot be 
much older than the time of transcription, but verses embedded 
in other parts have been identified as necessarily of the eleventh 
century; and the body of the tale is, for the greater part, 
manifestly archaic. 

Another Account, In the Arna-Magnaean Manuscript 

Beside Hauk's Book, there is a corroborative, independent, 
but almost identical manuscript copy of the saga — No. 557 of the 
Arna-Magnaean collection at Copenhagen. 

This saga^ tells us: 

Thence they sailed away beyond the Bear Islands with northerly winds. 
They were out two daegr (days); then they discovered land and rowed 
thither in boats and explored the country and found there many flat stones 
(hellur) so large that two men could well spurn soles upon them [lie at full 
length upon them, sole to sole]. There were many Arctic foxes there. 
They gave a name to the land and called it Helluland. 

Thence they sailed two daegr and bore away from the south toward 
the southeast and they found a wooded country and on it many animals; 
an island lay off the land toward the southeast; they killed a bear on this 

3 Fully set forth in A. M. Reeves: The Finding of Wineland the Good, London, 
1890; summarized in W. H. Babcock: Early Norse Visits to North America, Smith- 
sonian Misc. Colls., Vol. 59, No. 19, Washington, D. C, 1913, pp. 64 et seq. 

* Reeves, pp. 42 et seq. This work gives facsimiles of the pages in Hauk's Book 
dealing with the saga of Eric the Red, as well as the printed text in Icelandic, also a 
translation and notes distinguishing slight divergencies of Arna Magnaean MS. 557. 
I have followed the latter as slightly preferable and equally authentic and archaic 
in substance. William Hovgaard (The Voyages of the Norsemen to America, New 
York, 1914, p. 103) translates a little differently from Reeves in details but gives 
much the same purport. 



ii6 MARKLAND 

and called it Biarney (Bear Island) ; but the country they called Markland 
(Forest Land) . 

When two daegr had elapsed they descried land, and they sailed off 
this land. There was a cape (ness) to which they came. They beat into 
the wind along this coast, having the land on the starboard (right) side. 
This was a bleak coast with long and sandy shores. They went ashore 
in boats and found the keel of a ship.so thej^ called itKjalarness(Keelness) 
there; they likewise gave a name to the strands and called them Furdu- 
strandir (Wonder Strands) because they were so long to sail by. Then 
the country became indented with bays [or "fiord-cut," as Dr. Olson trans- 
lates] and they steered their ships into a bay. . . The country round 
about was fair to look upon. . . There was tall grass there. 

A very severe winter, however, drove them far southward to a 
warmer bay, or hop, where they dwelt for nearly a year among 
the characteristic products of Wineland; but at last withdrew 
after an onslaught of the Indians. 

Probably it was from this narrative that Arna-Magnaean 
Manuscript 194, an ancient geographic miscellany, partly in 
Icelandic, partly in Latin, derived the following statement, 
generally ascribed ^ to Abbot Nicholas of Thingeyri who died 
in 1 159. 

Southward from Greenland is Helluland, then comes Markland; thence 
it is not far to Wineland the Good, which some men believe extends from 
Africa, and if this be so there is an open sea flowing between Wineland and 
Markland. It is said that Thorfinn Karlsefni hewed a "house-neat-tim- 
ber" and then went to seek Wineland the Good, and came to where they 
beUeved this land to be, but they did not succeed in exploring it or in 
obtaining any of its products.^ 

The foregoing view of the relative positions of these regions 
along the coast is also illustrated in the well-known map^ (Fig- 
18) of Sigurdr Stefansson (1570, or 1590, according to Storm) 
which was evidently based on surviving Icelandic traditions. 

5 For example by Joseph Fischer: The Discoveries of the Norsemen in America, 
With Special Relation to Their Early Cartographical Representation, transl. by 
B. H. Soulsby, London, 1903. PP- 7-8. 

6 Thus quoted in Reeves, p. 15. See also Hovgaard, p. 79, where the obscure 
phrase in quotation marks above is rendered "Karlsefni cut wood for a house 
ornament." 

7 Thormodus Torfaeus: Gronlandia Antiqua, seu veteris Gronlandiae descriptio, 
Copenhagen, 1706, Tabula II, after p. 20. See also footnote 20, Chapter VII. 



LATER DERIVATIVE RECORDS 117 

Later Derivative Records 

There is great verisimilitude in the Karlsefni narrative and 
these later derivative records. Their geography agrees con- 
vincingly with the facts of the actual coast line from north to 
south — namely, first a desolate region, cold, bare, and stony, 
the appropriate home of Arctic foxes; secondly, a game-haunted 
and very wild forest land, untempting to settlement, unhopeful 
for agriculture, but a hunter's paradise; thirdly, the warmer 
country to the south, well suited to cultivation and even produc- 
ing spontaneously various kinds of edibles, notably the large 
fox grapes from which wine might be made. Helluland, the first, 
remains, as Labrador and perhaps Bafhn Land, nearly un- 
changed excepting some uplift of the shore line; Markland has 
suffered great inroads of the lumberman's axe, but still as 
Newfoundland contains much heavy timber in its western part; 
Wineland, the third, has become the chief seat of American 
civilization east of the Appalachian Mountains. But in the time 
of the Norsemen and long afterward Newfoundland was a 
veritable Markland, a land of woods, down to its eastern front.* 
Its rediscoverers and earliest settlers found it so; and the maps 
of Cantino^ and Canerio,^° both attributed to 1502 and certainly 
not much later, exhibit the great island pictorially, under 
different names, as a mass of woodland with tall trees standing 
everywhere, apparently thus commemorating the most distinctive 
and conspicuous natural feature of the land. 

Labrador as Markland 

Some have urged that the southern part of Labrador may have 
been Markland; but its trees of any considerable size are to 
be found only by following up inlets far into the interior where 

8 Fridtjof Nansen: In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, 
transl. by A. G. Chater, New York, 1911. 2 vols.: reference in Vol. i, p. 323. Cf. R. 
Whitbourne: A Discourse and Discovery of Newfoundland, London, 1622. 

» E. L. Stevenson: Maps Illustrating Early Discovery and Exploration in Amer- 
ica, 1502-1530, Reproduced by Photography from the Original Manuscripts, text 
and 12 portfolios, New Brunswick, N. J., 1906; reference in Portfolio i. 

10 E. L. Stevenson: Marine World Chart of Nicolo de Canerio Januensis, 1502 
(circa), 2 vols, (text, 1908, and facsimile in portfolio, 1907). Amer. Geogr. Soc. and 
Hispanic Soc. of Amer., New York, 1907-08. 



ii8 MARKLAND 

the Arctic current has less power to chill; there is nothing to 
indicate that conditions were very different then in this regard; 
and to judge by the narrative itself we must not conceive of the 
Norse visitors as pausing to explore deeply without allurement, 
but rather as hastening down the shore in quest of warmer regions 
and ampler pasturage for their stock which they carried with 
them, also of a good warm site for settlement, such as Leif 
had already reported. They were primarily colonists, not 
explorers of the disinterested or glory-seeking type. It was 
most natural to sail on; noting only what they could discern 
from the sea, or by a brief boat-landing. This would hardly give 
them the idea of a forest land in any part of hard-featured, 
ice-battered Labrador. 

It is probable that, like some later navigators, they would not 
think of the Strait of Belle Isle as other than a fiord or inlet, 
after the pattern of the great Hamilton Inlet farther north; and 
if they guessed Markland to be an island it would be on quite 
different grounds — chiefly the natural tendency (which persisted 
until long after their time) to consider every western discovery 
insular; but they would at least be alive to the distinction between 
treelessness and an ample forest cover, and we see that in point 
of fact they did distinguish the regions on just this score. 

Nova Scotia as Markland 

Certainly this might involve the inclusion of Nova Scotia in 
the second of the three regions; and there have been many to 
champion this peninsula as distinctively Markland. But other 
features of Nova Scotia attracted the attention of Karlsefni's 
party and gave parts of that land an individuality distinguished 
from that of the forest country. The great cape Kjalarness, 
which seems to have been the northern horn of Cape Breton 
Island, and the exceedingly long strands, which may now be 
represented in part by the low front of Richmond County, are 
duly recorded, with no suggestion of their belonging to Markland, 
the region farther north. Also on the Stefansson map above re- 
ferred to (Fig. 1 8), the name Promontorium Vinlandiae is applied 



INTERCOURSE WITH GREENLAND 119 

to a long protuberance apparently meant for this part of Cape 
Breton Island, containing the counties of Victoria and Inverness, 
and the much earlier statement in Ama-Magnaean Manuscript 
194 concerning the sea running in between Markland and Wine- 
land seems to mark all south of Cabot Strait as belonging in some 
sense to the latter region. No doubt the name Markland may 
sometimes have been used with vagueness of limitation; but on 
the whole it seems most likely that Newfoundland was Markland 
almost exclusively. It seems practically certain, at the least, 
that the characteristics first noted in Newfoundland supplied 
the earlier regional name. 

In many of the discussions of this exploring saga there has 
been too great a tendency to localize the territorial names, 
as though Wineland for example must denote a small area or 
short stretch of coast. Professor Hovgaard has even suggested 
that there may have been two Winelands — Leif's Wineland 
being much farther south than Karlsefni's, the name in each 
case standing for some one site or place and the territory 
immediately about it. This does not accord well with one of the 
notes on the Stefansson map, which gives Wineland an extension 
as far as a fiord dividing it from "the America of the Spaniard." 
That may be read as meaning Chesapeake Bay and must at any 
rate be taken to suggest great extension for this region, since 
the Promontorium Vinlandiae, as already stated, obviously 
marks its upper end. Markland need not be conceived as of 
equal size, for in truth it represents at most only the wild and 
wooded interval between the hopelessly void and barren north 
and the great habitable, comfortable, and fruitful region stretch- 
ing far below; but so much of parallelism holds as will forbid us 
to anchor the name to any one locality on the Newfoundland 
shore. Doubtless the long sea front of the great island as a whole 
is entitled to the name. 

Intercourse between Greenland and Markland 

No doubt it is surprising, in view of the deep impression which 
Markland obviously made on the Norsemen from near-by treeless 



120 MARKLAND 

Greenland and Iceland, to find so few subsequent references to 
the name or indications of a knowledge of the region. There is 
a well-known and often cited instance recorded in Icelandic 
annals — in one instance nearly contemporary — of a small 
Greenland vessel storm-driven to Iceland in 1347, after having 
visited Markland, the latter name being presented in a matter- 
of-course way, much as though it were Ireland or the Orkneys. 
This has sometimes been taken as evidence of a regular timber 
traffic between Greenland and Markland during the preceding 
three centuries and more. It shows at least that acquaintance 
with the more southwestern country had been kept really alive 
thus long, and that it was not a half-mythical figure on the 
frontier of knowledge, to be doubtfully sought for, but territory 
that one might visit without claiming the reward of new and 
daring exploration or causing any extreme surprise. What 
Markland had to offer was so decidedly what Greenland needed, 
and the repetition of Karlsefni's voyage thus far was at all times 
so feasible, that one must suppose the trips to and fro were not 
wholly intermitted between 1003 and 1347. Only they have left 
no clear and unquestionable trace. 

Perhaps the nearest approach thereto is a fifteenth-centur}' 
Catalan map^^ (Fig. 7) preserved in the Ambrosian Hbrary in 
Milan, which as we have seen in Chapter IV, presents Green- 
land (Ilia Verde) as a great elongated rectangle of land in 
northern waters, having a concave southern end. Below this, 
beyond a narrow interval of water, appears a large round 
island, the direction certainly calling for Labrador or Newfound- 
land, probably the latter. The minimizing of the distance 
between these land masses may indicate some report of the ease 
with which the crossing was effected. At any rate, unless we 
are prepared to set aside the testimony of the map altogether as 
mere fancy work, we must acknowledge that some one had a 

11 A. E. Nordenskiold: Bidrag till nordens aldsta kartografi, Stockholm, 1892, 
PI. 5. Also (reduced) in Nansen: In Northern Mists, Vol. 2, p. 280, and in T. J. 
Westropp: Brasil and the Legendary Islands of the North Atlantic: Their History 
and Fable {Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13. PP- 223-260), 
PI. 20, facing p. 260. 



BRAZIL ISLAND AS MARKLAND 121 

general impression of land in mass south or southwest of Green- 
land and reasonably accessible therefrom. 

Brazil Island in the Place of Markland 

The name Brazil given to this island on the map and its disk- 
like form link it to the long series, already discussed, of "Brazil 
islands," approximately in the latitude of Newfoundland, on the 
medieval maps, beginning with that of Dalorto of 1325^^ (Fig. 4). 
Usually, as in this last instance, they have the circular form — 
sometimes, however, being annular, with an island-studded lake 
or gulf inside, and sometimes being divided into two parts by a 
curved channel. Usually, too, the station of this Brazil is pretty 
near southern Ireland, off the Blaskets, but sometimes it is 
carried out into mid-Atlantic, and in the sixteenth-century maps 
of Nicolay^^ (1560; Fig. 6) and Zaltieri" (1566) it is taken clear 
across to the Banks of Newfoundland or a little nearer inshore. 
From various mutually corroborative indications, I have been im- 
pressed with the belief that it is probably a record of some early 
crossing of the Atlantic from Ireland ; but whatever the explana- 
tion, Brazil Island remains one of the most interesting of map 
phenomena. Its name was somehow passed along to Terceira 
of the Azores, where there is still a Mt. Brazil, and long 
thereafter to the largest of South American countries. 

Its appearance near Greenland and as a substitute for Mark- 
land is not easily accounted for. The matter is indeed complicated 
on this fifteenth-century map by the appearance of a second 
Brazil (of the channeled type) in the middle of the Atlantic. 
It may be that the cartographer was familiar with this form and 

12 Alberto Maghaghi: La carta nautica costruita nel 1325 da Angelino Dalorto, 
with facsimile, Florence, 1898 (published on the occasion of the Third Italian Geo- 
graphical Congress). Cf. also: idem: II mappamondo del genovese Angellinus de 
Dalorto (1325): Contributo alia storia della cartografia mediovale, Atti del Terzo 
Congr. Geogr. Italiano, tenuto in Firenze dal 12 al 17 Aprile, 1898, Florence, 1899, 
Vol. 2, pp. 506-543; and idem: Angellinus de Dalorco {sic), cartografo italiano 
della prima meta del secolo XIV, Riv. Geogr. Italiano, Vol. 4, 1897, pp. 282-294 and 
361-369. 

"A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus, PI. 27. 

1^ Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 19, map 3. 



122 MARKLAND 

land of presentation in older maps and did not feel warranted 
in giving up that "Brazil;" but had received convincing infor- 
mation ot lands southwest or south of Greenland, with some 
suggestion of Brazil as a name traditionally associated with such 
discoveries, and so drew and named it. Undoubtedly the map 
is the work of a man well acquainted with the first disk form of 
Brazil and the later channeled or divided form, beside having 
some knowledge of later discoveries in Greenland and beyond. 

There is a parallel to the two Brazils of his map in the two 
series of Azores on that of Bianco (1448).^^ The latter cartog- 
rapher retained the original Italian-discovered series, inaccurately 
aligned north and south, but showed also farther afield the 
islands of Portuguese rediscovery, properly slanted north- 
westward, omitting only Flores and Corvo, which the redis- 
coverers had not yet found or at least had not yet brought to 
his notice. Another map of about the same period makes the 
same double showing — certainly a curious compromise between 
conservatism and progressiveness. 

The Zeno Narrative 

There is perhaps no other news of Markland before it became 
Newfoundland, unless we may put some glimmer of faith in the 
much-discussed Zeno narrative^^ (Ch. IX), which embodies the 
tale of an Orkney islander wrecked on the shore of Estotiland (per- 
haps the name was first written Escociland — ^Scotland) a little 
before the opening of the fifteenth century. He professed to 
have found there a people having some of the rudiments of 
civilization and carrying on trade with Greenland, but ignorant 
of the mariner's compass. The picture given is not incredible 
and perhaps receives some support from the really notable works 

"Theobald Fischer, Portfolio ii, PI. 3. 

« R. H. Major, transl. and edit.: The Voyages of the Venetian Brothers, Nicold 
and Antonio Zeno, to the Northern Seas, in the XIV th Century, etc., Hakluyt Soc. 
Pubis., ist Ser., Vol. so, London, 1873; and F. W. Lucas: The Annals of the Voy- 
ages of the Brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno in the North Atlantic, etc., London, 
1898 — representing opposite sides of the discussion. 



THE ZENO NARRATIVE 123 

known to have been executed by the Beothuks^^ of Newfoundland 
in their later and feebler, though not quite their latest days — such 
as extensive deer fences, to give their hunters the utmost benefit 
from the annual migrations. Granted a certain infusion of 
Norse blood, or even without it, there is perhaps nothing stated 
of the Escocilanders which may not have been true. As to the 
name, it is no more strange than Nova Scotia, which still occu- 
pies the coast just to the south, and it may have been applied 
in the same spirit. 

Very early in the history of European colonization this Mark- 
land — which by its out jutting position was accused of being a 
New-found-land, again and again with varying designations 
during the ill-r.ecorded centuries — took under the latter name 
the position, which it still holds, of the very earliest of the 
English colonies of the New World. 

" George Cartwright: Journal of Transactions and Events During a Residence 
of Nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador, 3 vols., Newark (Engl.), 1792. 
Republished as "Captain Cartwright and His Labrador Journal," v/ith an introduc- 
tion by W. T. Grenfell, Boston. 1911; reference on pp. 16-25. 



CHAPTER IX 
ESTOTILAND AND THE OTHER ISLANDS OF ZENO 

Some of the well-known mythical or dubious map islands of 
the North Atlantic make their entry into cartography very 
early indeed, apparently as the contribution or record of otherwise 
forgotten voyages, though we cannot say with certainty precisely 
when or how; others, long afterward, were the products of mirage, 
ocean-surface phenomena, or mariners' fancies working under 
the suggestion of saintly or demoniacal legends amid the hazes 
and perils of little-known seas, the precise time of their origin 
remaining uncertain. As a rule the latter class were less persistent 
on the maps and are geographically rather unimportant. 

In t\vo cases, however, Estotiland and Drogio, we know the 
first appearance of their names before the public, which is very 
probably the first use of them among men. They derive a special 
interest from being located in America and from an asserted jour- 
ney by Europeans to them more than a hundred years before 
the first voyage of Columbus. The map which first shows them also 
displays divers other Atlantic islands, either of unusual name or un- 
usual location and area, not conforming at all to the insular tracts 
of the North Atlantic basin as we know them now. The fantastic 
exhibition as a whole had an immediate, long-continuing, and 
considerable — almost revolutionary — effect on the map-making of 
the world. 

The Zeno Volume 

In the year 1558 a volume was printed by Marcolino at Venice, 
purporting to give an account of "The Discovery of the Islands 
of Frislanda, Eslanda, Engroneland, Estotiland, and Icaria made 
by two brothers of the Zeno family, Messire Nicolo the Chevalier 
and Messire Antonio."^ Some of the islands named in the book 

1 R. H. Major, transl. and edit.: The Voyages of the Venetian Brothers, Nicolo 
and Antonio Zeno, to the Northern Seas, in the XlVth Century, etc., Hakluyt Soc. 
Pubis., ist Ser., Vol. so, London, i873' 



THE ZENO VOLUME 125 

are omitted from this title; and the word "Discovery" must have 
been used with willful inexactness, for Greenland (Engroneland) 
had been in Norse occupancy for centuries, and Shetland 
(Eslanda, Estland, or E^tiland) was as positively, though not as 
familiarly, known as Great Britain. But the indication of aim 
and scope was sufficient. 

The name of the author, or, as he calls himself, "the compiler," 
was not given; but he is generally recognized to have been the 
Nicolo Zeno of a younger generation, a man of local prominence 
and a member of the dominant Council of Ten of the Venetian 
republic. In 1561 he edited for Ruscelli's edition of Ptolemy, a 
subsequent edition of the map (Fig. 19) which is the volume's 
most conspicuous feature. His account of the Zeno book's origin 
seems to have been accepted generally and promptly among his 
own people, as also the general accuracy of its geography. But, as 
Lucas remarks, "An adverse critic of a member of the Council 
of Ten, in Venice, in the sixteenth century, would have been a 
remarkably bold, not to say foolhardy, man."^ However, there 
are shelters and places of seclusion from even the most arbitrary 
power; and it would seem that the eminent younger Nicolo 
would hardly have the effrontery to challenge the world in 
matters then easily susceptible of disproof concerning his still 
more eminent ancestor and kinsman. Surely they must have had 
some notable experiences in northern islands on the reports of 
which he could rely in a general way, however erroneous or fraud- 
ulent in some important features, though then first advancing 
the transatlantic claim to discovery. 

Moreover, the dread of the Council could not overshadow 
distant geographers like Mercator and Ortelius, whose maps of 
1569 and 1570^ (cf. Fig. 10) almost eagerly embody the most dis- 

2 F. W. Lucas: The Annals of the Voyages of the Brothers Nicolo and Antonio 
Zeno in the North Atlantic, etc., London, 1898, p. 152. 

3 Ibid., Pis. 13 (Mercator's large-scale world map, 1569) and 14 (Ortelius' large- 
scale world map, iS7o). Ortelius' small-scale world map, 1570, of a section of which 
our Fig. ID is a reproduction, is facsimiled in A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas 
to the Early History of Cartography, transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, 
Stockholm, 1889, PI- 46. 



126 



THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 




tinctive Zeno additions, giving them the greatest currency and 
implying some sense of the general probability of discoveries by 
members of that family. Estotiland and Drogio are very dis- 
tinctly shown, the former apparently as Newfoundland united to 



"ESTOTILAND" AND "DROGIO" FIRST USED 127 

Labrador, the latter as a smaller and more southern island which 
may well be Cape Breton Island, pushed a bit offshore, but still 
not very far from the mainland. 

There has been much discussion as to whether the book should 
be regarded as wholly a forgery or not, as to the location of these 
regions, and as to the derivation and meaning of the names; but 
all agree that Estotiland and Drogio were not known before 1558. 

Nicolo the compiler reports: "The sailing chart which I find, I 
still have among our family antiquities and, though it is rotten 
with age, I have succeeded with it tolerably well." Just what 
this success involved is an interesting question. It has been 
understood by his m.ost reasonable advocates to include con- 
jectural restoration, such as the deficiencies of rottenness seemed 
to call for, and somewhat more. 

Nicolo the younger avers, further, that his ancestor Antonio 
wrote a book recording his northern observations and many 
facts about Greenland, but that the compiler as a boy had 
thoughtlessly destroyed the book with other papers and that the 
Zeno narrative as he gives it is made up from fragmentary letters 
of the elder Nicol6 to Antonio and of the latter to their brother, 
Carlo, remaining in Venice; which letters by good fortune 
happened to survive. 

Nobody except the younger Nicolo is asserted to have seen 
the map, the letters, or any of the original documents ; though his 
parents, it would seem, must have been custodian of them before 
him, and he would surely have been likely to display such 
precious evidences to some one after awakening to their impor- 
tance. But those were less critical and exacting times than the 
present, and conceivably it may have been felt that any corrob- 
oration would be superfluous. Yet the fact remains that we are 
not informed of any means of testing the accuracy of restoration 
or even of demonstrating that there was anything to restore. 

First Use of the Nai^ies "Estotiland" and "Drogio" 

The two names "Estotiland" and "Drogio" are supplied by a 
story within a story, an alleged yarn of a fisherman, reporting 



128 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

to his island ruler, whom the elder Zeno served. Obviously, the 
chances of lapse from truth are multiplied. Either the later 
Nicolo or his ancestor of more than a century and a half before 
may have wholly invented or more or less transformed it; or 
the first narrator may have created his tale out of no real hap- 
penings or have so distorted it by mistake or willful imposture 
as to render it wholly unreliable. In its general outlines it is by 
no means impossible; but neither would it have been very 
difficult to compose such a yarn out of nothing but fancy and 
the American information at the command of the younger 
Nicolo. It comes to us through the medium of an alleged letter 
of his ancestor Antonio, written home to the latter's brother 
Carlo near the end of the fifteenth century. With some slight 
compression, the narrative runs as follows: 

Six and twenty years ago four fishing boats put out to sea, and, en- 
countering a heavy storm, were driven over the sea in utter helplessness 
for many days; when at length, the tempest abating, they discovered an 
island called Estotiland, lying to the westwards above one thousand 
miles from Frislanda. One of the boats was wrecked, and six men that 
were in it were taken by the inhabitants, and brought into a fair and 
populous city, where the king of the place sent for many interpreters, but 
there were none could be found that understood the language of the 
fishermen, except one that spoke Latin, and who had also been cast by 
chance upon the same island. . . They . . . remained five years 
on the island, and learned the language. One of them in particular 
visited different parts of the island, and reports that it is a very rich 
country, abounding in all good things. It is a little smaller than Iceland, 
but more fertile; in the middle of it is a very high mountain, in which rise 
four rivers which water the whole country. 

The inhabitants are a very intelligent people, and possess all the girts 
Hke ourselves; and it is to be beUeved that in time past they have had 
intercourse with our people, for he said that he saw Latin books in the 
king's library, which they at this present time do not understand. They 
have their own language and letters. They have all kinds of metals, but 
especially they abound with gold. Their foreign intercourse is with 
Greenland, whence they import furs, brimstone and pitch. . . They 
have woods of immense extent. They make their buildings with walls, 
and there are many towns and villages. They make small boats and sail 
them, but they have not the loadstone, nor do they know the north by the 
compass. For this reason these fishermen were held in great estimation. 



IMPLICATION OF ZENO NARRATIVE 129 

insomuch that the king sent them with twelve boats to the southwards to 
a country which they call Drogio; but in their voyage they had such con- 
trary weather that they were in fear for their lives. 

. . . They were taken into the country and the greater number of 
them were eaten by the savages. . . But as that fisherman and his 
remaining companions were able to show them the way of taking fish with 
nets, their lives were saved. . . As this man's fame spread . . . 
there was a neighboring chief who was very anxious to have him with 
him ... he made war on the chief with whom the fisherman then was, 
and ... at length overcame him, and so the fisherman was sent over 
to him with the rest of his company. During the space of thirteen years 
that he dwelt in those parts, he says that he was sent in this manner to 
more than five-and-twenty chiefs . . . wandering up and down . . . 
he became acquainted with almost all those parts. He says that it is a 
very great country, and, as it were, a new world; the people are very 
rude and uncultivated, for they all go naked and suffer cruelly from the 
cold, nor have they the sense to clothe themselves with the skins of the 
animals which they take in hunting. They have no kind of metal. They 
live by hunting, and carry lances of wood, sharpened a»t the point. 
They have bows, the strings of which are made of beasts' skins. They are 
very fierce, and have deadly fights amongst each other, and eat°one 
another's flesh . . . The farther you go southwestwards, however, the 
more refinement you meet with, because the climate is more temperate, 
and accordingly there they have cities and temples dedicated to their 
idols, in which they sacrifice men and afterwards eat them. 

His fellow captives having decided to remain where they were, he bade 
them farewell, and made his escape through the woods in the direction of 
Drogio, . . . where he spent three years. [One day] some boats had 
arrived. He went down to the seaside, and . . . found they had come 
from Estotiland. [They took him aboard as interpreter.] He afterwards 
traded in their company to such good purpose that he became very rich, 
and, fitting out a vessel of his own, returned to Frislanda.* 

Geographical Implication of the Narrative 

In spite of plain geographical indications in the above recital, 
Estotiland has been located by some random or oversubtle 
conjectures in the strangest and most widely scattered places, 
including even parts of the British Isles. But a region a thousand 
miles west of the Faroes or any other Atlantic islands can be 
nothing but American, and the restriction of its commerce to 

< Major, pp. 19-24. 



130 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

Greenland, apparently as a next neighbor, points very clearly 
(as Estotiland) to that outjutting elbow of North America, which 
culminates in Cape Race, south of Greenland and thrust out 
toward Europe. The clear definition of it in the tale as an island, 
largely explored by the narrator, approximating the size of 
Iceland but more fertile, with mountainous interior, great forests 
(such as gave the name Markland to Norse tradition), and rivers 
flowing several ways, clearly indicates Newfoundland. The 
Zeno map accords with this, and most of the later maps accept 
that identification — though often with a great extension of 
territory. Thus a French map in the United States National 
Museum,^ having 1668 for an entry of discovery and perhaps 
dating from about 1700, presents the whole region southeast of 
Hudson Bay in an inscription as called Estotiland by the Danes, 
Nouvelle Bretagne (New Britain) by the English, Canada 
Septentrionale by the French, and Labrador by the Spanish; 
but here again Labrador and Newfoundland may have been 
chiefly in mind. 

Conjectures as to the Derivation of "Estotiland" 

Evidently this map-maker attributed the name Estotiland to 
the Norsemen of Greenland on the faith of the fisherman's story, 
for no other Scandinavians can be supposed to have fastened a 
name on the region in question. But, barring the last syllable, 
which is a common affix, the name has an Italian sound rather 
than Scandinavian. "East-out-land" has been suggested as a 
derivation, but why in this instance should either Norse or 
Italian borrow an English name? Another suggestion requires 
the use of the first three syllables of the motto "esto fidelis usque 
ad mortem" making up "Estofi," with the appendant "land." 
But there seems no historic link of positive connection, and the 
letter "f" would not readily change into "t." Perhaps "Escotiland" 
or "Escociland" (Scotland) is a more likely conjecture (first made 

5 Recently on exhibition, but not accessible at present. 



THE ESTOTILANDERS 131 

by Beauvois^), since "c" often resembles "t" in older forms of 
handwriting and might readily be misunderstood. The name 
may have been applied in the same spirit which has long afftxed 
"Scotia" (Nova Scotia) to a lower part of the same Atlantic 
coast. That the name was ever really thus applied by the Norse- 
men seems very unlikely; but Nicolo Zeno may have used it to 
help out his fisherman's yarn as readily as he certainly adapted 
"King Daedalus of Scotland" to help out his more mythical 
account of Icaria. Or "Estotiland" may be a modification of 
Estilanda or Esthlanda, a form sometimes taken by Shetland, for 
example on the map of Prunes, 1553^ (Fig. 12). In casting about 
for a name,it would be an economy of effort on the part of Zeno or 
the fisherman to utilize one that was familiar. But I do not know 
that this derivation from Estiland has ever before been suggested. 

The Estotilanders 

Ortelius, in crediting the discovery of the New World to 
the Norsemen, seems to identify Estotiland with Vinland.^ 
He was so far right that the fisherman's account of the 
people of Estotiland was evidently composed by some one 
acquainted with the mistaken ideal of Vinland, or Wineland, 
which pictured it a permanent Norse offshoot from Green- 
land, perhaps slowly deteriorating but still possessed of a 
city and library, letters and the ordinary useful arts of at 
least a primitive northern white civilization, trading regularly 
with Greenland though archaic enough to lack the mariner's 
compass, and in most respects fairly on a par with the Icelanders, 
Faroese, Shetlanders, or Orkneymen of the fourteenth to the 
sixteenth century. We know that such Estotilanders did not 
exist; that the ground was occupied by Beothuk Indians, possibly 
slightly influenced by Greenlanders' timber-gathering visits, 

6 Eugene Beauvois: La decouverte du nouveau monde par les irlaiidais, Nancy, 
1877, P- 90. 

"> Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 4, map 5. 

8 A. M. Reeves: The finding of Wineland the Good, London, 1890, pp. 94-95. 



132 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

with Eskimos for neighbors on one side and Micmac Algonquins 
on the other; and that none of these could be thought even so 
far advanced in culture as some natives farther down the coast. 
But it is interesting to get the point of view of the narrator or 
reporter. 

Drogio 

The tale is of a prolonged residence among these alleged 
relatively advanced Estotiland people, followed by a much 
longer wandering sojourn, mostly as a captive, in a great "new 
world" southwest of it and a final escape. Drogio (also spellM 
"Drogeo" and "Droceo" on some maps) was the region through 
which this continental territory was entered. It is plainly an 
island, to judge by the maps; but, according to the narrative, it 
should be close inshore, since no mention is made of water being 
crossed by the neighboring chief, who made war on the first 
captors and thus acquired the fishermen. This accords curiously 
with the facts as to Cape Breton Island, which is barely cut off 
by the Gut of Canso, being easily reached by any incursion from 
the mainland. It also lies southward from Newfoundland 
(Estotiland), but sailing vessels would ordinarily be required to 
get to it across the broad Cabot Strait, where the conditions 
of storm and shipwreck might well be supplied. It is, indeed, 
surprising, since the description of inhabitants and conditions 
is so far from the truth, that the geography of Estotiland and 
Drogio should be given so much more accurately than in some 
carefully prepared and useful maps of the same period, for 
example Nicolay's of 1560^ (Fig. 6) and Zaltieri's of 1566,^° both 
of which represent Newfoundland as broken up into an archi- 
pelago; and the same may be said of Gastaldi's map illustrating 
Ramusio.^^ 

9 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 27. 

10 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 19, map 3. 

" Justin Winsor: Cartier to Frontenac: Geographical Discovery in the Interior 
of North America in Its Historical Relations, 1 534-1700, with Full Cartographical 
Illustrations from Contemporary Sources, Boston, i894i PP- 60-61. 



DISCREPANCIES IN FISHERMAN'S STORY 133 

It has been generally surmised that the name Drogio represents 
some native word, but there is a lack of evidence and a difficulty 
in identification. Lucas thinks it may be a corruption of Boca 
del Drago,^ a strait between Trinidad and the mainland South 
America; but this seems a far-fetched and unsupported conjec- 
ture; All the other island names used by Zeno are of European 
origin, and Drogio by its sound and orthography suggests Italy. 
Perhaps the best guess we can make would point to the Italian 
words "deroga" or "dirogare" as supplying in disparagement a 
form afterward contracted to Drogio; for the latter island, lower 
in latitude and elevation, was also, according to the narrative, 
inferior in the status of its population and might well be spoken 
of derogatively. We have seen that a fairly high culture is 
imputed to Estotiland; whereas the natives of Drogio were 
sunk in mere cannibal savagery. Notwithstanding the plain 
implication of the story as to the comparative nearness of the 
two regions and the concurrent testimony of the Zeno map, 
Drogio has been located by some theorizers at divers different 
points of our coast line from Canada to Florida and even as far 
afield as Ireland — ^which is perhaps a shade more extravagant 
than Lucas's South American derivation of the name. 

Discrepancies in the Narrative of the Fisherman 

There is this to be said for the last-mentioned speculation and 
some others, that the statements concerning the mainland natives 
are plainly prompted by Spanish accounts of certain naked and 
cannibalistic denizens of the tropics, when not due to the 
experience of Cortes and his companions among the teocallis 
and ceremonial sacrifices of the Aztecs. That any one starting 
from Nova Scotia or thereabout could have reached southern 
or at least central Mexico and returned alone must have struck 
even Nicolo Zeno the younger as incredible, if he had any 
conception of the distances and difficulties involved. But probably 
he believed the area of temple building to extend farther north- 
ward than it actually did and had little notion of the great waste 

12 Lucas, p. 124. 



134 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

of intervening interior. Besides, it is not explicitly stated that 
the fisherman saw these things; and to have gone far enough to 
encounter a rumor of them., though a very im.probable, would 
not be a quite impossible, feat. 

As regards the characteristics of the ruder inhabitants who 
nearly devoured him, fought for him, and two dozen times 
shifted ownership of him from chief to chief, he must surely be 
understood to speak from personal observation; but there is a 
conspicuous failure of corroboration from internal evidence. We 
know a good deal about the Indian tribes of northeastern America 
of a time not very much later, and hardly a distinctive charac- 
teristic which he gives will fit what we know. To say that the 
Algonquian tribes and their neighbors had not sense to clothe 
themselves with the skins of the animals they killed is itself 
arrant nonsense; to assert that they habitually ate each other 
like Caribs is an imputation without foundation. The total 
absence of metals among them is as untrue as the great abundance 
of gold in Estotiland, for many of them had at least a little 
copper. They did not live wholly by hunting — at least south of 
Nova Scotia — but were partly agricultural, raising Indian corn 
and various vegetables. They did not depend, in hunting, on 
wooden lances with sharpened points, though some backward and 
feeble far-southern insular tribes are reported to have done so. 
They were expert fishermen with weirs and nets and inducted 
many of the white settlers into their secrets, so naturally would 
not extravagantly need nor prize the counsel of a white specialist 
in the same line, though he might have some things to teach 
them. Finally, the really distinctive features of the Indian race 
in these latitudes, such as bark canoes and the peculiarities of 
maize cultivation, are not mentioned at all. 

In view of these discrepancies it is not easy to believe that the 
fisherman ever visited America or at any rate ever journeyed 
far inland. The nature of the errors rather points to Nicolo 
Zeno "the compiler" as their author, since they embody observa- 
tions made elsewhere, which the fisherman would not be aware 
of and which had not been made in his time, so far as now known. 



THE ZENO NARRATIVE ITSELF 135 

The landing by shipwreck on Estotiland in the last quarter of 
the fourteenth century, though a startling feature, cannot be 
called impossible or perhaps even wildly improbable; and, once 
on this side of the Atlantic at that point, some accident might 
take him across to Cape Breton Island, whence he well might 
travel or be carried a little farther. This sequence of events may 
be said to hang well together, and the geographic accuracy as 
to Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island may be taken diffi- 
dently as establishing a faint presumption that something like it 
really occurred. But farther than this we cannot go, for all other 
indications are adverse; and, even if we credit the incongruities 
to one of the Zeni and suppose them to take the place of forgotten 
or disregarded observations of the original adventurer, we are 
without these last, and it is only substituting a vacuum for incor- 
rectness. Perhaps the only thing that remains to be said in 
favor of the story is that if it were wholly the invention of 
Nicolo Zeno it would have been natural and quite easy for him 
to make his ancestor the discoverer, instead of an unnamed and 
insignificant fisherman. 

The Zeno Narrative Itself 

For the story above considered enters the Zeno narrative only 
as the incentive to a voyage of exploration which failed of its 
aim; and it is nowhere alleged, unless in the title, that either of 
the Zeno 'brothers discovered anything American. Each of them, 
it says, visited Greenland, but that needed no discovery. Briefly 
summarized, the Zeno story is that the elder Nicolo, being an 
adventurous wanderer like many of his countrymen, was ship- 
wrecked about 1380 on the island of Frisland and taken into the 
service of Zichmni, lord of the Orkneys, then prosecuting the 
conquest of the former region. Zeno took part in the warfare of 
this chieftain, chiefly against the King of Norway his feudal 
lord, also in his various navigations, including a visit to Green- 
land, of which this elder Nicolo writes quite fully to his brother 
Antonio in Venice, urging the latter to join him in Zichmni's 
service. Antonio did so, after many adventures and hardships 



136 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

and incidental delay, and served with him four years, when 
Nicolo died, and Antonio succeeded to his honors and emoluments 
for thirteen years longer. About 1400 the fisherman returned 
with his story of transatlantic experience, and Earl Zichmni 
resolved to attempt to reach Estotiland in person. Instead, he 
was storm-driven to Icaria, whatever that may be, and again 
visited Greenland, exploring parts of its coast. Antonio Zeno 
went with him and sailed home separately, under orders, slightly 
missing his course and first reaching Porlanda (Pomona) of the 
Orkneys and Neome (Fair Island) midway between the Orkneys 
and Shetland. He knew then that he was "beyond Iceland" 
(i. e. to the eastward) and readily found his way to Frisland. 
He was never allowed to return to Venice but wrote his brother 
Carlo what he had seen and heard, including the fisherman's 
story. 

R. H. Major's Study of the Zeno Narrative 

Major endeavored to end the long-standing discussion as to 
the authenticity of the map and the narrative of voyages by an 
elaborate and ingenious study, on the hypothesis of an honestly 
intended reproduction, the various additions, interpolations, 
and changes being due partly to misunderstandings by the 
original Zeno brothers, partly to injuries accidentally inflicted 
by the compiler and inaccurately repaired, and partly to extra- 
neous matter of illustration and ornament, which the later 
Nicolo Zeno had not the self-control to withhold. This method 
of exposition leads to some curious experiences of prodigious 
exaggeration backed by a veritable genius for transforming 
words. Thus when we read that Zichmni, ruling in Porlanda 
and conqueror of Frisland, made successful war on his feudal 
superior, the King of Norway, it means, according to Major, that 
Henry St. Clair (or Sinclair), who was given the Earldom of the 
Orkneys in 1379, had a skirmish with a forgotten claimant to a 
part of his territory. A little later in the narrative a warm spring 
(108° maximum) on an island of a fiord in the inhabited part of 
Greenland, beside which some ruins are found, evolves a monas- 



WORK OF F. W. LUCAS 137 

tery and monk-ruled village of dome-topped houses on the slope 
of a volcanic mountain far up the impossible ice-bound eastern 
coast, with house-warming, cooking, and hothouse gardening by 
subterranean heat and a continual commerce maintained with 
northern Europe — though all this had never been heard of 
before. It is true that Major was handicapped by a belief, 
formerly prevalent, that the eastern coast of Greenland was the 
site of the Eastern Settlement of the Norsemen, though in 
modern times that coast is subjected to conditions which make 
life hardly practicable; whereas it is now conclusively established 
that both of the Norse settlements were on the relatively pleasant 
southwestern coast, one settlement being more easterly and the 
other more westerly. But at the best such interpretations run 
the gauntlet of the reader's involuntary skepticism. It is often 
easier to discard the statements altogether. 

The Work of F. W. Lucas 

Lucas, writing some years afterward, with the benefit of 
recently discovered maps and information, has chosen this 
destructive alternative for nearly the whole Zeno narration: 
denying that Nicolo Zeno had any map of a former generation 
to restore; styling his own keenly critical and exhaustive pro- 
duction "an indictment," and branding the book under considera- 
tion as a forgery throughout — with, necessarily, some true 
things in it. He has gone far toward making good his case. 
Some things not fully accounted for suggest that there may have 
been a basis of genuine material, a nucleus of truth; but it must 
have been very slight. 

Major and his preservative school relied chiefly on three points 
of coincidence: a fairly good description of that most unusual 
boat, the kayak of the Eskimos; the hot water of the monastery 
already mentioned; and the general geography of Greenland, 
which is shown more accurately than on many maps of the 
sixteenth century and later. But Lucas points out that the 
history of Olaus Magnus, or other northern sources, might have 
supplied the kayak to Zeno the younger. This may seem rather 



138 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

far-fetched in view of the wide interval between Italy and 
Scandinavia; but intercourse was regular in 1558, and Zeno was 
a man of ample information and intelligence, using material from 
many sources and having his attention especially directed to the 
north. 

A Monastery IN THE Arctic 

The Zeno account of the monastery of St. Thomas is very 
extended and particular, going into details of daily life, artificial 
agriculture, and traffic. It is the sublimation of cultivation in 
hothouse conditions (of volcanic origin), located far up within 
the Arctic Circle at a particularly repellent point, where no man 
has ever lived or perhaps will live hereafter. Lucas tries to 
explain the account — which is interesting in its own way with 
a certain wild and preposterous plausibility — by reminiscences 
of a favored Scandinavian fortress, the gardens of which were 
hardly ever frozen, enjoying "all the advantages which any 
fortunate abode of mortals could demand and obtain from the 
powers above. "^2 But this is manifestly vague, a general picture 
of balminess and delightfulness, far removed from a specific 
account of roasting food by subterranean heat, warming garden 
beds to the forcing point by pipes naturally supplied, and carrying 
on an extensive commerce from the polar regions by the aid of a 
tame volcano. Certainly the warm spring of southwestern 
Greenland is not much more to the point; but neither fortress 
gardens nor flowing water should be needed to stimulate a lively 
fancy in creating rather obvious marvels. Nicolo knew of vol- 
canoes in Iceland (as well as Italy), may well have surmised 
their activity in Greenland, and would be only one of many who 
have amused themselves with speculations as to what might be 
accomplished by tapping the great reservoir of heat and energy 
below us. It is not necessary to find a precise earlier parallel, to 
be sure that there is no corroboration for his tale of ancestral 
voyages in such fancies. 

»3 Lucas, p. 74. 



THE ZENO MAP 139 

The Zeno Map 
A glance at the Zeno map (Fig. 19) discloses a good approxima- 
tion to the general outline, trend, and taper of Greenland, with 
certain features which imply information. For a long time it was 
thought that no earlier source existed from which this could have 
been drawn by Zeno the compiler. But of later years other fif- 
teenth-century maps showing Greenland have been discovered in 
various libraries, notably four by Nordenskiold,^^ out of which or 
out of others like them Zeno could certainly have gleaned all that 
he needed for judicious copying. In particular the maps of Donnus 
Nicolaus Germanus (1466 to 1474, or a little later; e. g. Fig. 17), 
elaborated from the map of Claudius Clavus (1427; Fig. 16), seem 
to supply the chief features of the Zeno exhibition. ^^ Sharing an 
error common to Clavus and all successors of his school, Zeno con- 
nected Greenland to Europe. He also represented its eastern coast 
as habitable at the extreme upper end. It is true that a visitor to 
the real surviving Greenland settlement about Ericsfiord prob- 
ably would not learn the facts about these matters, so that his 
misinformation is no disproof of the visits of the older Zeni to 
that country. On the other hand, it would be difficult to point 
to any convincing evidence that either of them was ever there. 
Kohl suggests^^ that the fisherman's story may be a mere re- 
flection of the general American knowledge of Greenlanders, 
and this might call for the presence of one of the Zeni in Green- 
land to hear the story. But, if the Norse of Greenland knew 
anything about Newfoundland or Labrador, they could hardly 
have credited and passed along these woid pictures of cities, 
libraries, and kings. The only thing like internal corroboration 
is in the geography of Estotiland and Drogio. 

w A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, text maps 34 and 35, on pp. 85 and 87, and PI. 
32; idem: Facsimile -Atlas, PI. 30. The first three maps are also reproduced in 
idem: Bidrag till Nordens aldsta Kartografi, Stockholm, 1892, Pis. 3, i, 2. 

15 Joseph Fischer: The Discoveries of the Norsemen in America with Special Re- 
lation to Their Early Cartographical Representation, transl. by B. H. Soulsby, 
London, 1903, pp. 71 and 72 and Pis. 1-6. 

18 J. G. Kohl: A History of the Discovery of the East Coast of North America, 
Particularly the Coast of Maine, from the Northmen in 990 to the Charter of Gilbert 
in 1578 (Documentary History of the State of Maine, Vol. l), Colls. Maine Hist. 
Soc, 2d Ser., Portland, 1869, p. 105. 



140 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

As Nicolo Zeno followed the disciples of Claudius Clavus in 
outlining Greenland, so he took for his guide Mattheus Prunes' 
map of 1553^^ in dealing with the more eastern islands. Po- 
danda or Porlanda (Pomona, the main island of the Orkneys) and 
Neome (Fair Island) are in both (Figs. 19 and 12). Prunes dis- 
places these islands to a position west, instead of south, of south- 
em Shetland (Estiland or Esthlanda), and Zeno simply carries 
them both still farther west, while moving them southward; but 
his Neome is still in the latitude of the lower end of Shetland. 
Long before the time of either of them, the Faroe Islands had 
been shown as one territory — see the Ysferi (Faroe Islands) of 
the eleventh-century map of the Cottonian MS. in the British 
Museum, reproduced by Santarem.^^ The main islands are in 
fact barely severed from each other by a thread of water. 

Frisland 

It was, and is, so common to use "land" as a final syllable for 
island names (witness Iceland, Shetland, and the rest) that 
"Ferisland" would easily be derived from the form of the name 
last given and would be as readily contracted into "Frisland." 
We find the latter (Frislanda), indeed, on the map of Cantino 
(1502)^^ and in the life of Columbus ascribed to his son Ferdi- 
nand.^° There seems no doubt of its very early use for a northern 
island or islands; apparently primarily for the Faroe group, often 
blended as one island. 

^^ Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 5. 

18 [M. F.] Santarem: Atlas compose de mappemondes, de portulans, et de cartes 
hydrographiques et historiques depuis le Vie jusqu'au XVII^ siecle . , . devant 
servir de preuves a I'histoire de la cosmographie et de la cartographie pendant le 
Moyen Age .... Paris, 1842-53, PI. 9 (Quaritch's notation). 

13 E. L. Stevenson: Maps Illustrating Early Discovery and Exploration in 
America, 1502-1530, Reproduced by Photography from the Original Manuscripts, 
text and 12 portfolios, New Brunswick, N. J., 1906; reference in Portfolio i. 

2" Ferdinand Columbus: The History of the Life and Actions of Adm. Christopher 
Columbus, and of His Discovery of the West-Indies, Call'd the New World, Now in 
Possession of His Catholic Majesty. Written by His Own Son, transl. from the Ital- 
ian and contained in "A Collection of Voyages and Travels, Some Now First 
Printed from Original Manuscripts, Others Now First Published in English," by 
Awnsham Churchill and John Churchill (6 vols., London, 1732), Vol. 2, pp. 501- 
628; reference on p. 507. 



FRISLAND 141 

But there seems to have been some confusion in men's minds 
between Iceland and Frisland as northern fishing centers and 
neighbors of Hke conditions. Thus the portolan atlas known as 
Egerton MS. 2803, contains two maps^^ (one shown in Fig. 8) 
naming Iceland "Fislanda," and the notable Catalan map of 
about 1480^ (Fig. 7), first copied by Nordenskiold, which shows 
Greenland as an elongated rectangular "Ilia Verde" and Brazil 
in the place later given to Estotiland, also depicts a large insular 
"Fixlanda," which is surely Iceland, if any faith may be put in 
general outline and the arrangement of islets offshore. Prunes 
(1553; Fig. 12) substantially reproduces it, with the same name 
and apparently the same meaning. Zeno (Fig. 19) follows him 
closely in area and aspect but draws also an elongated Iceland 
to the northward, the latter island trending southwestward in 
imitation of Greenland and seeming to derive its geography there- 
from. This version of Iceland was probably suggested by one of 
the Nicolaus Germanus maps above referred to. 

Thus Zeno has two great islands, Frisland and Iceland, the 
former being several times larger than Shetland and many times 
larger than Orkney. His Frisland gets its name from the Faroes, 
its area and outline from Iceland; it is located south of Iceland, 
where there never was anything but waste water. No such large 
island, distinct from Iceland, ever existed at the north. Certainly, 
as shown, it is a mythical island indeed. 

Major stoutly argued that any derelictions of the map are to 
be explained as the defects of age and rottenness, unskillfully 
cobbled by a later hand. This sounds reasonable to one who has 
seen how the changes of time deface these old memorials and 
how easily outlines and much more may be misread. But in 
point of fact the map as we have it answers to the narrative 
singularly well. Any blurs or lacunae which needed restoration 
must have occurred in very fortunate places. Iceland, Shetland, 

21 E. L. Stevenson: Atlas of Portolan Charts: Facsimile of Manuscript in British 
Museum, Pubis. Hispanic Soc. of Amer. No. 8i, New York, iQii, folios ib and 8b. 

22 A. E. Nordenskiold: Bidrag till Nordens aldsta Kartografi, Stockholm, 1892, 
PI. s. 



142 THE ISLANDS OF ZENO 

Greenland, Scotland, Estotiland, and Drogio are all not very 
far from where they should be. The Orkneys and Fair Island, if 
too far west in fact, are only far enough to suit the tale, for 
when Antonio sails eastward he comes to them and knows he has 
passed east of Iceland, a reflection more likely to occur if the 
interval were rather small than if it were very great. 



ICARIA 

Again, when Earl Zichmni and Antonio Zeno with their little 
flotilla, fired by the fisherman's American experiences, strike 
westward from Frisland for Estotiland they, indeed, do not 
reach that goal but do attain by accident the mysterious Icaria 
and find themselves where Greenland can be and is reached 
without much difficulty. Now, on the map (Fig. 19), Icaria, about 
the size of Shetland, is the most westerly of all the islands not dis- 
tinctly American. Draw a straight line from Iceland to Estotiland 
and another from the center of Frisland to Cape Hwarf near the 
lower end of Greenland, and Icaria lies at the intersection. 
Granting the rest of the story, it is shown where they might very 
well have stumbled upon it in trying to go farther west. 

Of course, it is not there; nothing ever was there except an 
ample expanse of sea. Where Zeno got the idea of Icaria is 
not known — except as an appended and unimportant myth 
from the Aegean; it certainly was not supplied by the facts of 
the North Atlantic. Probably the initial "I" stands for island 
as usual, and "Caria" is a not impossible transformation of either 
"Kerry" (preferred by Major) or "Kilda" — the latter more likely, 
for southern Ireland was continually visited by Italian traders, 
whereas St. Kilda lay off the trade routes rather far away in the 
mists and myths of the ocean and might be a fairer field for 
exaggeration and shifting of place. But, with every allowance, 
it is hard to see how this small ultra-Hebridean rock pile could 
become a large island territory just short of America. Perhaps 
it is as well to treat Icaria as merely the unprovoked creation 
of the romantic brain of the younger Zeno. 



INFLUENCE OF IMAGINARY CARTOGRAPHY 143 

Influence of Imaginary Cartography 

It may be true that the elder Zeno brothers served for a time 
under some northern island ruler, whose name the later Nicolo 
Zeno read and copied as the impossible Zichmni; that they then 
visited various countries and islands, possibly including the 
surviving but dwindling Greenland settlement; that one of 
them heard in general outline the adventures of a fisherman or 
minor mariner cast away at two points of the American coast; 
and that a futile attempt was thereupon made by their patron 
to explore the same regions. Every one of these admissions lacks 
adequate confirmation and is very dubious; yet they are all 
possible. But it is not possible that a map made about 1400 
could bear at almost all points the plain marks of copying with 
slight changes from maps of the late fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries; and, since the narrative so well fits the map, the two as 
we have them must stand or fall together. 

Either Nicolo Zeno of 1558 invented the whole matter, 
building up his imposture by the aid of maps and information 
already existent and accessible, or he actually had some sort of 
old sketch map and fragments of letters and has recast them with 
more modern aids quite at his convenience, leaving no certain 
trace of the original outlines or statements. It comes to much 
the same thing in either case. 

Also in either case his unscrupulous and misleading achieve- 
ments in imaginary cartography remain as historic facts. For 
a century or more he supplied the maps of the world with 
several new great islands; he shifted others widely into new 
positions; he adorned other regions with new names that were 
loath to depart; and he presented a story of pre-Columbian 
discovery of America which was long accepted as true and is 
not wholly discarded even yet. 



CHAPTER X 
ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

There are two names still in common use for American regions, 
which long antedate Columbus and most likely commemorate 
achievements of earlier explorers. They are Brazil and the An- 
tilles. The former is earlier on the maps and records; but the case 
for Antillia, as an American pre-Columbian map item, is in some 
respects less complex and more obvious. 

Antillia 

A good many decades before the New World became known 
as such, Antillia was recognized as a legitimate geographical 
feature. A comparatively late and generally familiar instance 
of such mention occurs inToscanelli's letter of 1474 to Columbus,^ 
recommending this island as a convenient resting point on the sea 
route to Cathay. Its authenticity has been questioned, notably 
by the venerable and learned Henry Vignaud,^ but at least some 
one wrote it and in it reflected the viewpoint of the time. 

Nordenskiold in his elaborate and invaluable "Periplus" de- 
clares: "As the mention of this large island, the name of which 
was afterwards given to the Antilles, in the portol^nos of the 
fourteenth century, is probably owing to some vessel being storm- 
driven across the Atlantic (as, according to Behaim, happened to 
a Spanish vessel in 141 4), those maps on which this island is 

1 E.g. in [Henr\' Harrisse]: Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima: Additions, Paris, 
1872, pp. x\'i-xviii; and Ferdinand Columbus: The History of the Life and Actions 
of Adm. Christopher Columbus, and of His Discovery of the West-Indies, Call'd 
the New World, Now in Possession of His Catholic Majesty. Written by His Own 
Son, transl. from the Italian and contained in "A Collection of Voyages and Travels, 
Some Now First Printed from Original Manuscripts, Others Now First Published 
in English," by Awnsham Churchill and John Churchill (6 vols., London, 1732), 
Vol. 2, pp. soi-628; reference on p. 512. 

2 Henry Vignaud: The Columbian Tradition on the Discovery of America and 
of the Part Played Therein by the Astronomer Toscanelli, Oxford, 1920, pp. 9-10; 
and idem: Le vrai Christophe Colomb et la legende, Paris, 192 1, Ch. IX. 



IDENTIFICATION OF ANTILLIA 145 

marked must be reckoned as Americana."^ The word "four- 
teenth" is probably an accidental substitute for "fifteenth." The 
reference to Behaim undoubtedly means the often-quoted in- 
scription on his globe of 1492, which avers that "1414 a ship from 
Spain got nighest it without being endangered."^ This seems to 
record an approach rather than an actual landing. But at least it 
was evidently believed that Antillia had been nearly reached in 
that year by a vessel sailing from the Iberian Peninsula. Little 
distinction would then have been made between Spain and 
Portugal in such a reference by a non-Iberian. 

Ruysch's map of 1508 is a little more vague in its Antillia in- 
scription as to the time of this adventure.^ He says it was dis- 
covered by the Spaniards long ago; but perhaps this means a 
rediscovery, for he also chronicles the refuge sought there by 
King Roderick in the eighth century. 

Peter Martyr's Identification of Antillia 

Both of these representations show Antillia far in the ocean 
dissociated from any other land, but in the work of Peter Martyr 
d'Anghiera, contemporary and historian of Columbus, writing 
before 151 1, we have an explicit identification as part of a well- 
known group or archipelago. He has been narrating the discovery 
of Cuba and Hispaniola and proceeds: 

Turning, therefore, the sterns of his ships toward the east, he assumed 
that he had found Ophir, whither Solomon's ships sailed for gold, but, 
the descriptions of the cosmographers well considered, it seemeth that 
both these and the other islands adjoining are the islands of Antillia.^ 

Perhaps he meant delineations, like those we have yet to con- 
sider, and not descriptions in words ; or writings concerning these 

3 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, p. 177. 

* E. G. Ravenstein: Martin Behaim: His Life and His Globe, London, 1908, 
p. 77. 

6 A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C, R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, p. 65 and PI. 32. 

6 Pietro Martyr d'Anghiera: The Decades of the New World or West India, 
transl. by Rycharde Eden, London, 1597, First Decade, p. 6. For a modern edition 
of this work see "De Orbe Novo: The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr D'Anghera," 
transl. by F. A, MacNutt, 2 vols., New York, 1912. 



146 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

islands may then have been extant which have since vanished as 
completely as the celebrated map of Toscanelli. 

Among "the other islands adjoining" we may be sure he in- 
cluded that island of Beimini, or Bimini (no other than Florida), 
a part of which, thus marked, occurs in his accompanying map 
and has the distinction of owning the fabled fountain of youth 
and luring Ponce de Leon into romantic but futile adventure. 
Perhaps only one other map gives it the name Bimini; but its 
insular character is plain on divers maps (made before men 
learned better), with varying areas and under different names. 

Other Identifications 

Peter Martyr was not alone in his identification of the "islands 
of Antillia." Canerio's map,^ attributed to 1502, names the large 
West India group "Antilhas del Rey de Castella," though giving 
the name Isabella to the chief island; and another map of about 
the same date (anonymous)* gives them the collective title of 
Antilie, though calling the Queen of the Antilles Cuba, as now. 
A later map,^ probably about 15 18, varies the first form slightly 
to "Atilhas [i. e. Antilhas] de Castela" and shows also "Tera 
Bimini." This is the second Bimini map above referred to. 

It is true that the name Antillia, often slightly modified, was 
not restricted to this use but occasionally was applied in other 
quarters. Beside Behaim's globe and Ruysch's map already men- 
tioned, a Catalan map of the fifteenth century (obviously earlier 
than the knowledge of the Portuguese rediscovery of Flores and 

'' E. L. Stevenson: Marine World Chart of Nicolo de Canerio Januensis, 1502 
(circa), 2 vols, (text, 1908, and facsimile in portfolio, 1907). Amer. Geogr. Soc. and 
Hispanic Soc. of Amer., New York, 1907-08. 

8 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; see atlas, PI. 8, 
map 2. 

9 Friedrich Kunstmann: Ueber einige der altesten Karten Amerikas, pp. 125-151 
in his "Die Entdeckung Amerikas. nach den altesten Quellen geschichtlich dar- 
gestellt," with an atlas: Atlas zur Entdeckungsgeschichte Amerikas, aus Hand- 
schriften der K. Hof- und Staats-Bibliothek, der K. Universitaet und des Haupt- 
conservatoriums der K. B. Armee herausgegeben von Friedrich Kunstmann, Karl 
von Spruner, Georg M. Thomas, Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich, 
1859; reference on PI. 4 of atlas. 



A MAINLAND ANTILLIA 147 

Corvo)^^ presents a duplicate delineation of most of the Azores, 
giving the supposed additional islands a quite correct slant north- 
westward and individual names selected impartially from divers 
sources. One of these is Attiaela, recalling the doubtful "Atilae"of 
the warning-figure inscription on the map of the Pizigani of 
1367" (Fig. 2), which may have suggested it, being applied in the 
same or a neighboring region. The islands remain mysterious, 
perhaps merely registering a free range of fancy at divers periods. 

An Antillia of the Mainland 

Again, at a much later time, when the exploration of the South 
American coast line had proceeded far enough to demonstrate the 
existence of a continent, some one speculated, it would seem, con- 
cerning an Antillia of the mainland. One of the maps^^ in the por- 
tolan atlas in the British Museum known as Egerton MS. 2803 
bears the word "Antiglia" running from north to south at a con- 
siderable distance w^est of the mouth of the Amazon, apparently 
about where would now be the southeastern part of Venezuela. 
Also, the world map^^ in the same atlas (Fig. 8) bears "Antiglia" as 
a South American name, in this instance moved farther westward 
to the region of eastern Ecuador and neighboring territory. 

But these aberrant applications of the name Antillia in its 
various forms were mostly late in time and probably all sug- 
gested by some novel geographical disclosures. The standard 
identification, as disclosed on the maps discussed below, at least 
from Beccario's of 1435 to Benincasa's of 1482, was w^ith a great 
group of western islands; as was Peter Martyr's, much later. 

'" Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps. 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portiolio 13 (Facsimile del pianisfero del mondo cono- 
sciuto, in lingua catalana, del xv secolo), PI. S- 

^ [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographie, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales . . . Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. In Santarem's atlas 
(cf. Ch. IX, footnote 18), PI. 31, the name is interpreted as "Atullis." 

12 E. L. Stevenson: Atlas of Portolan Charts: Facsimile of Manuscript in British 
Museum, Pubis. Hispanic Soc. of Amer. No. Sj, New York, 1911, folio 9a. 

13 Ibid., folio lb. 



148 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

The Origin of the Name 
Naturally the origin of the word has been found a fascinating 
problem. Ever since Formaleoni/^ near the close of the eight- 
eenth century, called attention to the delineation of Antillia in 
Bianco's map of 1436, discussed below, as indicating some 
knowledge of America, there have been those to urge the claims 
of the suppositional lost Atlantis instead. The two island names 
certainly begin with "A" and utilize "t," "1," and "i" about equally; 
but "Atlantis" comes so easily out of "Atlas," and the great 
mountain chain marches so conspicuously down to the sea in all 
early maps, that the derivation of the former may be called 
obvious; whereas you cannot readily or naturally turn "Atlas" 
into "Antillia," and there is no evidence that any one ever did 
so. As to geographical items, both have been located in the 
great western sea; but that is true of many other lands, real or 
fanciful. Something has been made of the elongated quadrilateral 
form of Antillia; but Humboldt points out^^ that in the description 
transmitted by Plato this outline is ascribed to a particular dis- 
trict in Atlantis, not to the great island as a whole, and that, 
even if it could be understood in the latter sense, there seems 
no reason why a fragment surviving the great cataclysm should 
repeat the configuration of Atlantis as a whole. There seems 
a total lack of any direct evidence, or any weighty inferential 
evidence, of the derivation of Antillia from Atlantis. 

Humboldt's Hypothesis 
Humboldt, in rejecting this hypothesis, advanced another, 
which is picturesque and ingenious but hardly better supported.^^ 
His choice is "Al-tin," Arabic for "the dragon." Undoubtedly 

1^ Vicenzio Formaleoni: Description de deux cartes anciennes tirees de la Biblio- 
theque de St. Marc a Venise, pp. 91-168 of the same author's "Essai sur la marine 
ancienne des Venitiens," transl. by the Chevalier d'Henin.Venice, 1788; reference on 
p. 122 and PI. III. 

15 Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent, et des progres de I'astronomie nautique aux quinzieme et 
seizieme siecles, 5 vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, p. 193. The other men- 
tions of Humboldt in this chapter refer to the same volume, pp. 178-211, except 
allusions to his correspondence with the Weimar librarian. 

18 Ibid., p. 211. 



HUMBOLDT'S HYPOTHESIS 149 

Arabs navigated to some extent some parts of the great Sea of 
Darkness, and these monsters were among its generally credited 
terrors. The hardly decipherable inscriptions in the neighborhood 
of an island on the map of the Pizigani of 1367^^ (Fig. 2), as we 
have seen (Ch. VI), seem to cite Arabic experience in proof of 
perils from fulvos (krakens) rising from the depths of the sea, 
coupling dragons with them in the same legend and illustrating 
it by a picture of a kraken dragging one seaman overboard from 
a ship in distress, while a dragon high overhead flies away with 
another. It is even true that Arabic tradition established a dragon 
on at least one island as a horrible oppression, long ago happily 
ended, and that another island (perhaps more than one) was 
known as the Island of the Dragon. But in all this there is 
nothing to connect dragons with Antillia, and that most hideous 
medieval fancy is out of all congruity with the fair and almost 
holy repute of this island as the place of refuge of the last Chris- 
tian ante-Moorish monarch of Spain in the hour of his despair 
and as the new home of the seven Portuguese bishops with their 
following. 

In passing, we may note that Antela, the version of the Laon 
globe hereinafter referred to, is identical with the name of that 
Lake Antela of northwestern Spain which is the source of the 
river Limia, fabled to be no other than Lethe, so that Roman 
soldiers drew back from it, fearing the waters of oblivion. But 
as yet no one has taken up the cause of Spanish Antela as the 
origin of the island's name. Probably it is a mere matter of coin- 
cidence. 

Humboldt admits that Antillia may be readily resolved into 
two Portuguese words, ante and ilia (island). He even cites 
several parallel cases, of which Anti-bacchus will serve as an 
example. But he objects that such compound names have been 
used in comparison with other islands, not with a continent. In 
the present instance, however, the comparison would be with 
Portugal, not with all Europe, and the other member of it would 

17 [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographie, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales . . ., Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. 



150 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

be a map island which, he says, is as long as Portugal and seems 
curiously to borrow and copy Portugal's general form and is 
arranged opposite to that kingdom far beyond the Azores across 
a great expanse of sea. It must be remembered that ilia is the old 
form of ilha, found in many maps, that either would naturally be 
pronounced "illia," and that you cannot say "anteillia" or "anti- 
illia" at all rapidly without turning it almost exactly into Antillia. 
The "island out before," or the "opposite island," would be the 
natural interpretation. The latter seems preferable. Notwith- 
standing the great importance which must always be attached to 
any opinion of Humboldt's, there really seems no need to let 
fancy range far afield when an obvious explanation faces us in the 
word itself and on the maps. 

The Weimar Map 

Nordenskiold, practically applying his test of the presence of 
Antillia and arranging his materials in chronological order, heads 
his list of "The Oldest Maps of the New Hemisphere"^^ with the 
anonymous map preserved in the Grand Ducal Hbrary in Weimar 
and credited to 1424.^^ But it seems that this map does not de- 
serve that position, for it is not entitled to the date; Humboldt, 
inspecting the original, made out certain fragments of words and 
the Roman characters for that year on a band running from 
south to north between the Azores and Antillia; also, in more 
modern ink, the date 1424 on the margin. Whatever the explana- 
tion, he was convinced of error by subsequent correspondence 
with the Weimar librarian and admitted that it was probably the 
work of Conde Freducci not earlier than 148 1. Apart from all 
considerations of workmanship and map outlines, the use of 
"insule" instead of "insulle" and of "brandani" instead of "bran- 
dany" in the inscription concerning the Madeiras marks the map 
as almost certainly belonging to the last quarter, not the first 
quarter, of the fifteenth century. 

isperiplus, p. I77- 

" W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Co- 
lumbus, Proc. igth Iniernatl. Congr. of Americanists, Held at Washington, Dec. 27- 
31, 1915, [Smithsonian Institution,] Washington, D. C, I9i7i niap on p. 476. 



BECCARIO MAP OF 1435 151 

The Beccario Map of 1426 

The second map on Nordenskiold's New World list is "Be- 
charius 1426," a Latinization of the surname of Battista Beccario 
and at least not so weird a transformation as Humboldt's "Be- 
clario or Bedrazio." Apparently the year of this map has not been 
doubted, but there is a lack of first-hand evidence that the 
original contains Antillia. No reproduction of this map had been 
published prior to the writer's paper on St. Brendan's Islands 
in the July, 19 19, Geographical Review, nor, so far as is known, has 
its extreme western part been copied in any way. The section 
there reproduced, and herewith reprinted only slightly curtailed 
(Fig. 3), is one of several sent me in response to arrangements, 
made before the war, for a photograph of the map, but by 
some mistake the very portion that would have been con- 
clusive was omitted, and all attempts to remedy the error have 
failed. But, if there were any inscription concerning recently dis- 
covered islands located as in his later map, some part of it at 
least would probably be seen on what I have; and for this and 
other reasons I do not believe that Antillia is delineated or named 
on the Beccario map of 1426. 

The Beccario Map of 1435 

The addition to fifteenth-century geography of a great group 
of large western islands roughly corresponding to a part of the 
West Indies and Florida rests mainly on the testimony of the 
following maps now to be discussed: Beccario 1435, Bianco 1436, 
Pareto 1455, Roselli 1468, Benincasa 1482, and the anonymous 
Weimar map probably by Freducci and dating somewhere 
after 148 1. Of these the most complete as well as the earliest 
is Beccario's^o (Fig. 20). He gives the islands the collective 
title of "Insulle a novo rep'te" (newly reported islands), which 

20 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche 
d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia della 
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geograph- 
ical Congress, Paris, 187s. by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875; refer- 
ence on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 



152 



ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 




Fig. 20 — Section of the Beccario map of 1435 showing the foiu- islands of the 
Antilles, St. Brendan's Islands. Daculi, and others. (After Uzielli's photographic 
facsimile.) 



FOUR ANTILLES ON BECCARIO MAP 153 

may refer to the discovery recorded by Behaim for 14 1 4 or 
to some more recent experience. The interval would not be 
much greater than that between the first landing of Colum- 
bus and the narrative of Peter Martyr beginning with equiva- 
lent words. It is likely, however, that some lost map or maps 
preceded Beccario's, for the artificially regular outlines of 
his islands, though in accord with the fashion of cartography in 
his time, seem rather out of keeping with a first appearance. 
The type had somehow fixed itself with curious minuteness and 
was repeated faithfully by his successors. In spite of these im- 
possibly symmetrical details and some discrepancies as to indi- 
vidual direction of elongation and latitude, the fact remains that 
in the Atlantic there is no such great group except the Antilles 
and that the general correspondence is too surprising to be 
explained by mere accident or conjecture. Surely some mariner 
had visited Cuba and some of its neighbors before 1435. 

This map of Beccario had been somewhat neglected, with mis- 
reading of the names, before it was taken in hand by the Italian 
Geographical Society and reproduced very carefully by photo- 
lithography. As regards the island names in particular, this 
eliminated some misunderstanding and confusion and made their 
meaning plain. Thus rendered, the map affords a convenient 
standard for the others, which, indeed, differ from it very little 
as to these "Islands of Antillia." 

The Four Islands of the Antilles on the Beccario Map 

This group, or more properly series — for three of them are 
strung out in a line — comprises the four islands Antillia, Reylla, 
Salvagio, and I in Mar. All these names have meaning, easy to 
render. 

Antillia 

The largest and most southerly, Antillia, the "opposite island," 
which I take to be no other than Cuba, is shown as an elongated, 
very much conventionalized parallelogram, extending from the 
latitude of Morocco a little south of the Strait of Gibraltar to 



154 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

that of northern Portugal. As Humboldt says, it is about a 
third as wide as it is long; and in this respect it is singularly even 
throughout its length. In its eastern front there are four bays, 
and three in its western. The intervals on each side are pretty 
nearly equal, and each bay is of a three-lobed form resembling 
an ill-divided clover leaf. In the lower end there is a broader and 
larger bay nearly triangular. The artificial exactness of these 
minute details is in keeping with the treatment on divers maps of 
the really well-known islands of the eastern Atlantic archipela- 
goes, except that the comparative smallness of a Teneriffe, a 
Terceira, or even a Madeira, offered less opportunity. The slant 
of the island is very slightly east of north, obviously quite dif- 
ferent from the actual longitudinal direction of the even more 
elongated Queen of the Antilles. 

Reylla 

Behind the lower part of Antillia, much as Jamaica is behind 
the eastern or lower part of Cuba, and about in similar propor- 
tions of relative area, Beccario shows a smaller but, nevertheless, 
considerable island, pentagonal in outline, mainly square in 
body, with a low westward-pointing broad-based triangular ex- 
tension. He gives it the Impressive name of Reylla, King Island, 
not ill suited to the royal beauty of that mountainous gem of the 
seas. 

Salvagio 

North of Antillia and nearly in line with it, but at a rather wide 
interval, he shows Saluagio or Salvagio ("u" and "v" being equiva- 
lent), which has the same name then long given to a wild and 
rocky cluster of islets between Madeira and the Canaries, that 
still bears it in the form Salvages. Wherever applied the name is 
bound to denote some form of savageness; perhaps "Savage Is- 
land" is an adequate rendering, the second word being under- 
stood. This Salvagio imitates the general form of Antillia on a 
reduced scale, being, nevertheless, much larger than any other 
island in the Atlantic south of the parallel of Ireland. Like 



ROSELLI MAP OF 1468 155 

AntlUia, its eastern and western faces are provided with highly 
artificial bays, three in each. Its northern end is beveled upward 
and westward. I think this large island probably represents 
Florida, similarly situated to the northward of Cuba and divided 
from it by Florida Strait. Its area must have been nakedly con- 
jectural, as much later maps show its line of supposed severance 
from the mainland to have been drawn by guesswork. 

I IN Mar 

The inclined northern end of Salvagio is divided by a narrow 
sea belt from I in Mar, which has approximately a crescent form 
and a bulk not very different from that commonly ascribed at 
that time to Madeira. "I," of course, stands for Insula or one of 
its derivatives, such as Ilia, a word or initial applied or omitted at 
will. "Island in the Sea" is probably the true rendering, though 
formerly the initial and the two words were sometimes blended, 
as Tanmar or Danmar, to the confusion of geographers. A larger 
member of the Bahama group lying near the Florida coast would 
seem to fill the requirements, being naturally recognized as 
more at sea than Florida or Cuba. Great Abaco and Great Ba- 
hama are nearly contiguous and, considered together, would give 
nearly the required size and form; but it is not necessary to be 
individual in identification. Possibly Insula in Mar as drawn 
was meant to be symbolical and representative of the sea islands 
generally rather than to set forth any particular one of them. 

The Roselli Map of 1468 

The Roselli map of 1468,^^ the property of the Hispanic Society 
of America, New York City, is nearly as complete as the Beccario 
map of 1435. It lacks only the western part of Reylla (a name 
here corrupted into "roella"), by the reason of the limitations of 
the material. These maps were generally drawn on parchment 
made of lambskin with the narrow neck of the skin presented 
toward the west, perhaps as the quarter in which unavoidable 

21 E. L. Stevenson: Facsimiles of Portolan Charts Belonging to the Hi?panic 
Society of America, Pubis. Hispanic Soc. of A trier. No. 104, New YorJi, 1916, PI. 2. 



156 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

omissions were thought to do the least harm. Because of the 
island's position on the very edge of the skin, its outline, although 
unmistakable, is faint and in a few decades of exposure of the orig- 
inal might have vanished altogether. This raises the question 
whether certain outlines, now missing but plainly called for, on 
other maps of the same period, have not met with the same fate. 
Probably this has happened. Antilia — spelled thus — is plain in 
name and outline ; so is the island next above it, spelled Saluaega. 
The "I" is omitted from I in Mar, as was often done in like cases, 
and the words "in Mar" are uncertain, but seem as above. The 
island figure is correctly given by Beccario's standard, and in gen- 
eral the representation of the island series is almost exactly the 
same. Perhaps the most discernible difference is a very slight 
northwestern trend given to Antillia, instead of the equally slight 
northeastern inclination in Beccario's case. 

The Bianco Map of 1436 

The Bianco map of 1436^2 (Fig. 25) was the first of the Antillia 
maps to attract attention in quite modem times but has suffered 
far worse than Roselli's in the matter of limitation. The border 
of the material cuts off all but Antillia and the lower end of 
Salvagio, to which Bianco has given the strange name of La Man 
(or Mao) Satanaxio, generally translated "The Hand of Satan" 
but believed by Nordenskiold to be rather a corruption of a 
saint's name, perhaps that of St. Anastasio. It remains a mystery, 
though one hypothesis connects it with a grisly Far Eastern tale 
of a demon hand. The initial "S" is all that Satanaxio has in 
common with the names for this island on the other maps that 
show it; and, as nearly all of these present very slight changes 
from Salvagio, easily to be accounted for by carelessness or 
errors in copying, the latter name is fairly to be regarded as the 
legitimate one, while Satanaxio remains unique and grimly 
fanciful, perhaps to be explained another day. The most that 
can be said for its generally accepted meaning is that it corrobo- 

22 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PL 20. Cf. also Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 2. 



PARETO MAP OF 1455 157 

rates Salvagio in so far as it intensifies savagery to diabolism. 
One is tempted to speculate as to whether any very cruel treat- 
ment from the natives had formed part of the experience of the 
visitors along that shore; but there is no known fact or assertion 
upon which to base such an idea. As to the delineation of the 
islands, it is quite evident that Bianco showed the same group 
as Beccario and Roselli so far as circumstances permitted; 
and there is no reason to believe that the islands for which he 
had no room would have differed from theirs in his showing, if 
admissible, any more than his Antillia differs; that is to say, 
hardly at all. 

Humboldt was so impressed by this map of Bianco that he took 
the pains of measuring upon it the distance of Antillia from 
Portugal, making this about two hundred and forty leagues: an 
unreliable test, one would say, for the distances over the western 
waste of waters probably were not drawn to scale nor supposed to 
approach exactness. For that matter, the interval between 
Portugal and the Azores, as shown on maps for nearly a hundred 
years, was greatly underestimated, and the discrepancy becomes 
more glaring as the islands lie farther westward, Flores and Corvo 
being conspicuous examples. We should naturally expect to find 
the West Indies reported much nearer than they really are by 
anyone mapping a record of them. Perhaps the explanation lies 
in a disposition of cartographers to expect and allow for a great 
deal of nautical exaggeration in the mariners' yarns that reached 
them. A careful man might come at last to believe in the existence 
of an island but doubt if it were really so very far away. 

The Pareto Map of 1455 

Pareto, 1455, has a very interesting and elaborate map^^ 
(Fig. 21) showing Antillia, Reylla, and I in Mar (the latter without 
name) in the orthodox size, shape, and position, but with a 
great gap between Antillia and I in Mar where Salvagio should 
be. Very likely it was there once. Perhaps this is another case of 

23 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 5- 



158 



ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 



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Fig. 21 — Section of the Pareto map of 14SS showing the Antilles, St. Brendan's 
Islands, Daculi, and others. (After Kretschmer's hand-copied reproduction.) 



BENINCASA MAP OF 1482 159 

fading away. One doubts whether the loss might not still be 
retrieved by more powerful magnifying glasses and close study 
of the significant interval. Pare to is unmistakably disclosing the 
same series of islands as the others. It may be that from him 
Roselli borrowed the inaccurate "roella" for Reylla, since Pareto 
is earlier in using a similar form (Roillo). 

The Benincasa Map of 1482, 

Benincasa's map of 1482^^ (Fig. 22) presents Salvagio as Sal- 
uaga, and I in Mar without name, but omits Reylla, both name and 
figure. The islands shown are in their accepted form and arrange- 
ment, except that Saluaga has but two bays on the western side, 
and his map adds a novelty in a series of names applied to the 
several bays, or the regions adjoining them, of the two larger 
islands. These names (Fig. 22) are twelve in number and seem 
like the fanciful work of some Portuguese who was haunted by a 
few Arabic sounds in addition to those of his native tongue. Sev- 
eral of them, like Antillia, begin with "An," perhaps another illus- 
tration of the law of the line of least resistance. I cannot think 
that there is any significance in these bits of antiquated ingenuity, 
though, as we have seen in Chapter V, some have believed they 
found in them a relic of the Seven Cities legend. 

The Weimar Map (after 1481) 

The Weimar map,^^ though long carefully housed, has suffered 
blurring and fading with some other damage in its earlier history. 
It is evidently a late representative of the tradition and begins 
to wander slightly from the accepted standard. It has been 
curtailed also from the beginning, like Bianco's map of 1436, by 
the limitations of the border, which in this instance cuts off the 
lower part of Antillia, though the name is nearly intact; but 
enough remains to indicate a reduced relative size and a greater 
slant to the northeastward than on Beccario's map. There is, of 
course, no room for Reylla, and there is none for I in Mar; but 

2^ Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4. 
25 See footnotes 18 and 19. 



i6o 



ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 







m 



ml 





inPutt forhiiuilc tineft OranStub 



^^ potto (onff* 



Fig. 22 — Section of the Benincasa map of 1482 showing the Antilles, St. Brendan's 
Islands, and others. (After Kretschmer's hand-copied reproduction.) 

Salvagio is given plainly and fully, with the letter S quite con- 
spicuous. I cannot read more of the name on the photograph; 
but the Weimar librarian reads San on the original, being uncer- 
tain as to the rest. This map bears traces of local names arranged 
in places like those of Benincasa but fragmentary and illegible. 
Perhaps these names tend to show that the maps belong not only 
to the same period, but to the same general school of develop- 



LAON GLOBE OF 1493 161 

ment. The other differences between this map and its predeces- 
sors are trivial. The general idea of the island series is the same 
so far as it is disclosed, and it is hardly to be doubted that all 
elements of the islands of Antillia would have been presented in 
the main on this map as they are by Roselli and Beccario, if there 
had been room to do so. 

The Laon Globe of 1493 

The Laon globe, ^^ I493» though mainly older, certainly had 
room enough, but it appears to have formed part of some mech- 
anism and to have had only a secondary or incidental, and in 
part rather careless, application to geography. It shows two 
elongated islands, An tela and Salirosa, undoubtedly meant for 
Antillia and Salvagio. Perhaps the globe maker had at command 
only a somewhat defaced specimen of a map like Bianco's or that 
of Weimar, showing perforce only two islands, and merely copied 
them, guessing at the dim names and outlines, without thinking 
or caring whether anything more were implied or making any 
farther search. This is apparently the last instance in which the 
larger two islands of the old group or series, marked by their 
traditional names or what are meant for such, appear together. 

Other Maps 

It may seem strange that certain other notable maps, for ex- 
ample Giraldi 1426,^^ Valsequa 1439,^^ and Fra Mauro 1459,^^ show 
nothing of Antillia and its neighbors. Perhaps the makers were 
not interested in these far western parts of the ocean, or the 
narratives on which Beccario and the rest based their maps had 
not reached them; more likely they were skeptical and un- 
willing to commit themselves. 

* A. E. Nordenskiold, Facsimile-Atlas, p. 73. map in text. 

27 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di 
Venezia dell' anno 1426). 

28 Original in Majorca. A good copy is owned by T. Solberg, Register of Copy- 
rights, Washington, D. C. 

29 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 15 (Facsimile del Mappamondo di Fra Mauro 
dell ' anno 1457 [i459])- 



i62 ANTILLIA AND THE ANTILLES 

It is also true that the Antillia of Beccario and others is made to 
extend nearly north and south instead of east and west; that I in 
Mar is placed north of its greater neighbor instead of east; and 
that the whole chain of islands is moved into considerably more 
northern latitudes than the group which we suppose them to rep- 
resent. Thus the eastern, or lower, end of Cuba is actually in the 
latitude of the lower part of the Sahara, and a point above the 
upper end of Florida would be in the latitude of the upper part of 
Morocco; whereas in the maps discussed the average location of 
the chain from the lower end of Antillia to the most northerly 
island, I in Mar, would run from the latitude of northern Morocco 
to that of southern France. There are slight individual differences 
in this matter of extension, but I believe Antillia always begins 
below Gibraltar and ends above northern Spain and a little below 
Bordeaux. But some dislocation, of course, is to be looked for in 
mapping exploration in an unscientific period. The changes of 
direction and extension are not greater than in the American 
coast line of Juan de la Cosa's very important map of 1500,^ not to 
mention even more extravagant instances of later date; and 
the shifting of latitudes may partly be accounted for by ignorance 
of the southward dip of the isothermal lines in crossing the 
Atlantic westward. Thus a Portuguese sailor on reaching a far 
western island or shore having what seemed to him the climate 
and conditions of Gascony would be likely to suppose that it was 
really opposite Gascony, though in fact it might be more nearly 
opposite the Canaries; and the same cause of error would apply all 
down the line. Cuba is not really directly opposite Portugal but 
may easily have been believed so. 

Identity of Antillia with the Antilles 

A more difficult question is raised by the absence of Haiti and 
Porto Rico from these maps, with all the more eastward Antilles. 
But it is possible that they may not have been visited or even 
seen. We can imagine an expedition that would touch Great 

30 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 7. 



IDENTITY OF ANTILLIA WITH ANTILLES 163 

Abaco, coast along Florida and Cuba, and visit Jamaica, return- 
ing out of sight, or with little notice, of the Haitian coast and 
barely passing an islet or two of the Bahamas, which, if not suffi- 
ciently commemorated in a general way by Insula in Mar, might 
well be disregarded. A report of such an expedition, adding that 
AntiUia was directly opposite Portugal and of about equal size, 
would account fairly for the map which for half a century was 
faithfully repeated even in details by many different hands and 
evidently confidently believed in. 

Unless we accept this explanation, we must assume an un- 
canny, almost an inspired, gift of conjecture in some one who, 
without basis, could imagine and depict the only array of great 
islands in the Atlantic. Certainly the outlines of Cuba, Jamaica, 
Florida, and one of the Bahamas will very well bear comparison 
with Scandinavia or the Hebrides and the Orkneys as given on 
maps of equal or even later date. Some glaring errors are to be 
expected in such work, as notoriously occurred in the sixteenth- 
century treatment of Newfoundland and Labrador. Applying 
the same tests and canons and making the same allowances as 
in these cases of distortion of undoubtedly actual lands, we may 
be reasonably confident that the Antillia of 1435 was really, as 
now, the Queen of the Antilles. 



CHAPTER XI 

CORVO, OUR NEAREST EUROPEAN NEIGHBOR 

Far at sea from Portugal, straggling in a long northwestward 
line toward America, lies the archipelago sometimes called the 
Islands of the Sun or the Western Islands but now generally 
known as the Azores. That line breaks into three divisions sepa- 
rated by wide gaps of sea : the most easterly pair, St. Michael and 
St. Mary; the main cluster of five islands, Pico being the loftiest 
and Terceira the most important; and the northwesterly pair, 
Flores and Corvo. These last make a little far-severed world of 
their own, sharing in none of the tremors and upheavals which 
from time to time more or less transform parts of the other two 
divisions. The remote origin of the pair was volcanic, and Corvo 
is little more now than an old crater lifted about 300 feet above 
the surface; but the fires have long been dead, and in historic 
times the lower strata have never shifted suddenly to produce 
any great earthquake. There have been changes, but they must 
be attributed for the most part to gradual subsidence. 

These two islands, though almost as near to Newfoundland as 
to any point in Portugal, cannot be classed as American; yet 
Corvo in particular seems to have impressed the imagination of 
ancient and medieval explorers with a sense of some special rela- 
tion to regions beyond, though possibly only to the entangling 
Sargasso Sea of weeds, which would lie next in order south- 
westward (Fig. i), and the menacing mysteries of the remoter 
wastes of the Atlantic. It may have been felt as the last stepping 
stone for the leap into the great unknown. 

Origin of the Name 

Flores, the island of flowers, thus prettily renamed by the 
Portuguese, is referred to as the rabbit island, Li Conigi, in the 



ORIGIN OF NAME 165 

fourteenth-century maps and records; but Corvo has always 
borne, in substance, the same name, one of the oldest on the 
Atlantic. Probably the very first instance of its use is in the Book 
of the Spanish Friar,^ written about 1350 (the author says he 
was born in 1305), rather recently published in Spanish and since 
translated for the Hakluyt Society publications by Sir Clements 
Markham. After relating alleged visits to more accessible islands 
of the eastern Atlantic archipelagoes, from Lanzarote and Tene- 
rife of the Canaries to Sao Jorge (St. George) of the Azores, he 
continues: "another, Conejos [doubtless Li Conigi], another, 
Cuervo Marines [Corvo — the sea crow island], so that altogether 
there are 25 islands." 

This account may not actually be later than the Atlante 
Mediceo map,^ attributed to 135 1 — may even have been sug- 
gested by it, as some things seem to indicate. The Friar's voy- 
ages are perhaps merely imaginary, their variety and total extent 
being hardly believable. This very important map has been best 
reproduced in the collection by Theobald Fischer; on it the same 
name (Corvi Marinis) seems to be applied to both islands col- 
lectively, the plural form "insule" being used to introduce it. 
Both names appear on the Catalan map of 1375.^ It is more 
than probable that they date at least from the earlier half of the 
fourteenth century. 

Possibly the name Corvo had been carried over by a some- 
what free translation from the older Moorish seamen and 
cartographers, who dominated this part of the outer ocean from 

' Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are 
in the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the 
Kings and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle 
of the 14th century, published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jimenez de 
la Espada in 1877. translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyt Soc. 
Pubis., 2nd Ser., Vol. 29, London, 1912; reference on p, 29. 

2 Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio 5 (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano- 
Gaddiano dell' anno 135 1), PI. 4. 

'A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 11. Our reproduc- 
tion (Fig. 5) does not extend far enough south to show the islands. 



i66 CORVO 

the eighth century to the twelfth. Edrisi,^ greatest of Arab geog- 
raphers, writing for King Roger of Sicily about the middle of the 
twelfth century, tells us, among other items, of the eastern 
Atlantic: 

Near this isle is that of Raca, which is "the isle of the birds" (D jazirato 
't-Toyour) . It is reported that a species of birds resembling eagles is found 
there, red and armed with fangs; they hunt marine animals upon which 
they feed and never leave these parts. 

This statement recalls the cormorants, which are supposed to 
be meant by the sea crows, "corvi marinis" of the later maps. 
They would naturally flock about the submerged ledges and the 
wild shore of Corvo and may be held to suggest either the crow 
or the eagle, though not closely resembling either. Everywhere 
they are the scavengers of the deep seas. Edrisi mentions a 
legendary expedition sent by the "King of France" after these 
birds. It ended in disaster. The pictorial record on the Pizigani 
map of 1367^ (Fig- 2), of Breton ships in great trouble with a 
dragon of the air and a kraken, or decapod, on the extreme 
western border of navigation, may conceivably refer to this ex- 
perience. 

Ancient Memorials 

But Corvo has even more ancient traditions and associations, 
Diodorus Siculus,® in the first century before the Christian era, 
wrote of a great Atlantic island, probably Madeira, which the 

* Edrisi's "Geography," in two versions, the first based on two, the second on 
four manuscripts, viz.: (i) P. A. Jaubert (translator): Geographic d'Edrisi, traduite 
de I'Arabe en Frangais, 2 vols. (Recueil de Voyages et de Memoires public par la 
Societe de Geographic, Vols. 5 and 6), Paris, 1836 and 1840; reference in Vol. i, 
p. 201; (2) R. Dozy et M. J. De Goeje (translators): Description de I'Afrique et de 
L'E^pagne par Edrisi: Texte arabe public pour la premiere fois d'apres les man. de 
Paris et d'Oxford, Leiden, 1866, pp. 63-64. 

^ [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales .... Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i. Also W. H. Babcock: 
Early Norse Visits to North America, Smithsonian Misc. Colls., Vol. 59, No. 19. 
Washington, D. C., 1913, Pis. i and 2. 

^ The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian, in 15 Books: to which are 
added the fragments of Diodorus, and those published by H. Valesius, L Rhodo- 
mannus, and F. Ursinus, transl. bj' G. Booth, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1814; reference 
in Vol. I, Bk. 5, Ch. 2, pp. 308-309. 



ANCIENT MEMORIALS 167 

Etrurians coveted during their period of sea power; but the Car- 
thaginians, its first discoverers, prohibited them, wishing to keep 
it for their own uses. If the Etrurians were thus well informed 
concerning one island of these eastern Atlantic archipelagoes, it is 
a fair conjecture that they had visited the others. 

However this may be, it seems that the Carthaginians left 
memorials on Corvo. At least this is the most reasonable explana- 
tion of the extraordinary story repeated by Humboldt^ in the 
"Examen Critique," apparently with full faith in its main feature 
at least, notwithstanding the fascinating atmosphere of romance 
and wonder which hangs about the details. In the month of 
November, 1749, it appears, a violent storm shattered an edifice 
(presumably submerged) ofl the coast of Corvo, and the surf 
washed out of a vault pertaining to the building a broken vase 
still containing golden and copper coins. These were taken to a 
convent or monastery (probably on some neighboring island). 
Some of them were given away as curiosities, but nine were 
preserved and sent to a Father Flores at Madrid, who gave them 
to M. Podolyn. Some of them bore for design the full figure of a 
horse; others bore horses' heads. Reproductions of the designs 
were published in the Memoirs of the Gothenburg Royal Society^ 
and compared with those on coins in the collection of the Prince 
Royal of Denmark. It seems to be agreed that they were cer- 
tainly Phoenician coins of North Africa, partly Carthaginian. 

It has been suggested^ that they may have been left by Nor- 
man or Arab seafarers, who certainly journeyed among the Azores 
in the Middle Ages. But, as Humboldt points out, that these 
should have left a hoard of exclusively Phoenician coins, so much 
more ancient than their own, without even a single specimen of 
any other mintage, appears very unlikely. On the other hand, it 

^ Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent et des progres de rastronomie nautique aux quinzieme et 
seizieme siecles, s vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, pp. 237-240. 

8 Det Gotheborgska Wetenskaps och Witterhets Samhdlleis Handlingar, Vol. i, 1778, 
pp. 106-108, and PI. 6. See also Moedas phenicias e cyrenaicas encontradas em 1749 
na ilha do Corvo, Archivo dos Afores, Vol. 3, pp. 11-113. 

» Conrad Malte-Brun: Precis de geographic universellc, 8 vols., Paris, 1810-29; 
reference in Vol. i of that edition, constituting "L'Histoire de la Geographic," 1810, 
p. 596. 



i68 CORVO 

is true that Phoenician vessels sailing northward in the tin or 
amber traffic would hardly be likely to be storm-driven so far 
northwestward as Corvo; St. Michael would have been a more 
natural involuntary landfall. This objection does not apply, 
however, if we suppose the deposit to be the work not of accident, 
but of full intention and deliberation, as the alleged edifice and 
vault would certainly tend to show. If these coins were deposited 
by Phoenicians who erected permanent buildings, the remoteness 
of the island would be only an added reason for commemoration. 
The coins might have been immured in the vault for safe keeping 
or might have been enclosed in the corner stone, in accordance 
with the general custom of placing coins and records in the corner 
stones of notable structures. 

Of course these details cannot be confidently accepted. As 
Humboldt suggests, it is to be regretted that we are without 
information as to the period or character of the edifice in ques- 
tion. But at least it seems most probable that Phoenicians occu- 
pied or at any rate visited this island and deposited coins of 
Carthage. 

Equestrian Statues 

Furthermore, Corvo is one of several Atlantic islands reputed 
to have been marked by monuments generally of one type. 
Edrisi^'* knows of them in Al-Khalidat, the Fortunate Isles — 
bronze westward-facing statues on tall columnar pedestals. 
There are said to have been six such in all, the nearest being at 
Cadiz. Tradition places an equestrian statue also on the island 
of Terceira, as repeated in a much more modern work." The 
Pizigani map of 1367, it will be remembered, shows (Fig. 2) near 
where Corvo should be the colossal figure of a saint warning mar- 
iners backward, with a confused inscription declaring westward 
navigation impracticable beyond this point by reason of obstruc- 
tions and announcing that the statue is erected on the shore of 

" Edrisi, (Dozy and De Goeje), p. i. 

" S. Morewood: Philosophic and Statistical History of Inventions and Customs, 
. . . Inebriating Liquors, Dublin, 1838, p. 322. 



EQUESTRIAN STATUES 169 

Atilie. But perhaps the best and most apposite account is that of 
Manuel de Faria y Sousa in the "Historia del Reyno de Portugal :" 

In the Azores, on the summit of a mountain which is called the moun- 
tain of the Crow, they found the statue of a man mounted on a horse 
without saddle, his head uncovered, the left hand resting on the horse, 
the right extended toward the west. The whole was mounted on a pedes- 
tal which was of the same kind of stone as the statue. Underneath some 
unknown characters were carved in the rock.^ 

Apparently the reference is to the first ascent of Corvo after its 
rediscovery between 1449 and 1460. The mention of "characters" 
recalls those found in a cave of St. Michael, also by rediscoverers, 
during the same period, as related by Thevet^^ long afterward, 
most likely from tradition. A man of Moorish- Jewish descent, 
who was one of the party, thought he recognized the inscription 
as Hebrew, but could not or did not read it. Some have supposed 
the characters to be Phoenician. There is naturally much uncer- 
tainty about these stories of very early observations by untrained 
men, recorded at last, as the result of a long chain of transmis- 
sions: but they tend more or less to corroborate the other evi- 
dences of Phoenician presence. 

It may be possible that the persistent and widely distributed 
story of westward-pointing equestrian statues marking important 
islands may have grown out of the ancient mention of the pillars 
of Saturn, afterward Hercules, and Strabo's discussion^^ as to 
whether they were natural or artificial in origin; but this puts a 
severe strain on fancy. We know that the Carthaginians did set 
up commemorative columns; and that the horse figured conspicu- 
ously in their coinage. Nothing in the enterprising character of 
the Phoenician people is opposed to the idea of incitement to ex- 
ploration westward. It seems easier to believe that they set up 
these statuary monuments on one island after another than that 
the whole tradition has grown out of a misunderstanding. Such 

" Humboldt, Examen critique, Vol. 2, p. 227. 

13 Andre Thevet: La cosmographie universelle, 2 vols., Paris, 1575; reference in 
Vol. 2, p. 1022. 

" The Geography of Strabo, transl. by H. C. Hamilton and W. Falconer (Bohn's 
Classical Library), 3 vols., London, 1854; reference in Vol. i, pp. 255-257. 



170 CORVO 

statues might well vanish subsequently as completely as the great 
silver "tabula" map of Edrisi and many other valuable things of 
olden tim.e. 

Corvo has no statue now; but it is reputed to hold a statue's 
representative. Captain Boid (1834) relates: 

Corvo is the smallest, and most northerly of the Azores, being only 
six miles in length, and three in breadth, with a population of nine hun- 
dred souls. It is rocky and mountainous; and on being first descried, 
exhibits a sombre dark-blue appearance, which circumstance gave rise 
to its present name, whereby it was distinguished by the early Portuguese 
navigators. . . . It is not known at what period this island was first 
visited, though from a combination of circumstances, it is supposed, about 
the year 1460. The inhabitants are ignorant, superstitious, and bigoted, 
in the highest degree, and relate innumerable ridiculous traditions re- 
specting their country. Amongst other absurdities they state, with the 
utmost gravity, that to Corvo is owed the discovery of the western world 
— which, they say, originated through the circumstance of a large pro- 
jecting promontory on the N. W. side of the island, possessing somewhat 
of the form of a human being, with an outstretched arm toward the west; 
and this, they have been led to believe, was intended by Providence, to 
intimate the existence of the new world. Columbus, they say, first inter- 
preted it thus; and was here inspired with the desire to commence his 
great researches.^ 

Captain Boid was wrong in his derivation of the name Corvo, as 
we have seen; wrong also, in another way, in despising the "super- 
stitions" as "absurd" and refusing them record, for they might 
embody some valuable suggestion. Humboldt thought, however, 
that the story of the pointing horseman might have grown out of 
this natural rock formed in human semblance. No doubt this is 
possible; but it would not account for like stories of the other 
islands nor the general similitude of their figures. Perhaps an 
equally valid explanation might be found in the former presence 
of such artificial figures, leaving a certain repute behind them and 
causing popular fancy to point out resemblances which would 
not have been noticed otherwise. 

^'-^ Captain Boid: A Description of the Azores, or Western Islands, London, 1834, 
pp. 316-317. 



NEED OF EXPLORATION 171 

A more recent mention of this pointing rock occurs in "A Trip 
to the Azores" by Borges de F. Henriques, a native of Flores. 
He says: 

Another natural curiosity which has been defaced by the weather and 

the bad taste of visitors is a rock resembling a horseman with the right 
arm extended to the westward as if pointing the way to the new world. 
Some insular writers deny the existence of this rock.^^ 

Need of Exploration 

There seems still a good deal of vagueness about the matter, 
and Corvo might well be given a thorough overhauling for ves- 
tiges of ancient times. This naturally should be extended to the 
submerged area close to the shore, for the outlying reefs and 
ridges may mark the site of lower lands where human work once 
went on and where its traces and relics may remain. In expanse 
the island probably was not always what we find it now, six miles 
in length by at most three in breadth (seven square miles in all, 
as most accounts compute it) with fringes of rock running off from 
the shore, "lifting themselves high above the water in one place, 
blackening the surface in another, and again sinking to such a 
depth that the waves only eddy and bubble over them." Mr. 
Henriques says elsewhere: "In many of the islands, but especially 
in Flores, there are vestiges clearly indicating that formerly as 
well as lately parts of the island have sunk or rather disappeared 
in the sea." He cites for instance a notable loss of land in the 
summer of 1847. 

There is reason to believe that Corvo has dwindled in this way 
much more, proportionately, than Flores. One striking indica- 
tion is found in the comparison of the present map with those of 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. For convenience sketches 
of these are appended (Fig. 23). The relative position of the is- 
lands is about the same in all. The form of Corvo varies from the 
pear shape of the Laurenziano map (1351),^^ and another shape^* 

1" Borges de F. Henriques: A Trip to the Azores or Western Islands, Boston, 
1867, pp. 35-36. 

1^ Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 5, PI. 4. 
18 Idem, Portfolio 7, PI- 4. 



172 



CORVO 



not much later slightly resembling an indented segment of a 
circle, to the three-lobed or clover-leaf form which was ac- 
cepted as the final convention or standard and first clearly ap- 
pears in the great Catalan atlas^^ of 1375, repeated by Beccario 
14352*^, Benincasa 1482^^, and others; but all agree in making 
Corvo the main island and Li Conigi (Flores) a minor pendant. 
Corvo seems in every way to have commanded chief attention, 



1 

tf Insula decorvi 
, marinis 

POWTOLANO LAURENZIANO- 
GADDIAN0/I35I 


3 

Insula decorvi mannis 

liconigi'^ 

^San Grorgjo' 

4^1.Co1ombi 

(# Insula . 
(ie Brazil 

CATAUAN ATCAS 
i375 


4 

ilia da corvi /narinis 
^ iiconigi 

CATALAN MAP 
15'"' CENTURY 


6 

1 

BENINCASA 
1482 


2 

4|^y de corvi marini 
A liconigi 

ANONYMOUS PORTOUAN 
lA^iCEffrURY 


5 

^ Corvo marini 
« Iiconigi 

BECCARIO 
1435 


7 

• Corvo 

A flores 

MODERN MAP 

laio 



Fig. 23 — Representation of Corvo on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century maps as 
compared with its present outline. (The sources may be identified from the text.) 

and in size the difference was conspicuous and decisive. The 
difference certainly is great enough now, but conditions and 
proportions are reversed. Corvo has but one-eighth the area of 
Flores and less than one-tenth the population. In all ways it 
lacks advantages and conveniences, taking rather the place of 
a poor dependent. 

19 A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. ii (not shown on Fig. s). 

20 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblio- 
teche d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of '"Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia 
della Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International 
Geographical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 
1875; reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the 
plates). Also Babcock, Early Norse Visits to North America, PI. 4. See our Fig. 20. 

-1 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 4. See our Fig. 22. 



NEED OF EXPLORATION 173 

There is no good reason for discrediting so many of the old 
maps. Their makers sometimes went wrong; but they tried to 
be accurate and would hardly, through a century or two, persist 
in making the northern island the greater one unless it was at 
first really so. Of course the most natural solution of the difficulty 
is that Corvo's border has sunk or the sea has risen over it, 
completely drowning the territory which made the lobes or 
curved outline of the island form in the medieval maps and 
leaving only above water its rocky backbone, with the crater for 
a nucleus. Apparently those lobes and their contents are just 
what might be most profitably dredged for and dived after. 

Perhaps the island has not greatly changed since Mr. Henriques 
wrote his little sketch of it in the sixth decade of the last cen- 
tury: 

The first part of the ride to it [the crater] is through steep and narrow 
lanes walled in with stones. Over those walls you can sometimes see the 
country right and left, which is divided into small and well-cultivated 
compartments by low stone walls. These small fields form narrow ter- 
races, one above another, looking from the sea like steps in the hills. 
An hour's ride brings you to an open mountain covered with heath where 
browse flocks of sheep and hogs, and about an hour and a half more to 
the crater on the summit, now a quiet green valley, with a dark, still 
pond in the center. . 

The Corvoites, particularly the women, are a happy and industrious 
people and have strong and healthy constitutions. The men in trade 
evince a remarkable shrewdness, proverbial among the other Azorians, 
but in private life their manners are simple and unassuming. , 
They are like a large family of little less than a thousand members, all 
living in the only village on the island. ^^ 

2- Borges de F. HenriQues, pp. 35-36. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE SUNKEN LAND OF BUSS AND OTHER 
PHANTOM ISLANDS 

Beside those legendary Atlantic islands that may cast some 
light on visits of white men to America before Columbus or have 
been at some time linked therewith by speculation or tradition — 
notably Antillia and its consorts, Brazil, Man or Mayda, Green 
Island, Estotiland and Drogio, the Island or Islands of St. 
Brendan, and the Island of the Seven Cities — there are numerous 
others, quite a swarm indeed, excusing Ptolemy's and Edrisi's 
extravagant estimate of 27,000. Sometimes, but not always, 
they are of more recent origin and are explainable in various ways. 

Several are linked to the idea of volcanic destruction or seismic 
engulfment. Of course the colossal and classical instance of 
Atlantis comes first into mind, it being the earliest as well as in 
every way the most imposing. Most likely the well-known story, 
repeated, if not originated, by Plato, developed naturally, as we 
have seen, from the insistent need to account for the obstructive 
weedy wastes of the Sargasso Sea beyond the Azores and recur- 
rent facts of minor cataclysms among them. 

The next oldest instance, perhaps, is supplied by Ruysch's map 
of 1508,^ an inscription on which avers that an island in the sea 
about midway between Iceland and Greenland had been totally 
destroyed by combustion in the year 1456. We do not know 
his authority for this startling announcement. The spot is where 
one would naturally look for Gunnbjorn's skerries of the older 
Icelandic writings; and no one can find them now, unless they 
were, after all, but projecting points of the eastern Greenland 
coast. Also Iceland is at times tremendously eruptive; and this 

1 A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History of Cartography, 
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, PI. 32. 



DISCOVERY OF BUSS 175 

islet, or these islets, would not be far away. The assertion is not 
in itself incredible, but there seems no corroboration. 

The Discovery of Buss 

The "Sunken Island of Buss" presents a suggestion of engulf- 
ment on a more extensive scale. The whole episode is of rather 
recent date, Buss being the latest born of mythical or illusory 
islands, unless we except Negra's Rock and other alleged and 
unproven apparitions of land on a very small scale, which may 
not have wholly ceased even yet. Buss is, at any rate, the one 
moderately large phantom map island the time and occasion of 
whose origin are securely recorded. For, as narrated by Best and 
published in Hakluyt's compilation, on Frobisher's third voyage 
(1578), one of his vessels, a buss, or small strong fishing craft, of 
Bridgewater, named Emmanuel, made the discovery. In his words: 

The Buss of Bridgewater, as she came homeward, to the southeast- 
ward of Frisland, discovered a great island in the latitude of 57 degrees 
and a half, which was never yet found before, and sailed three days along 
the coast, the land seeming to be fruitful, full of woods, and a champaign 
country.2 

Best must have had his information at second or third hand, with 
liberal play of fancy in the final touches on the part of his 
informant or himself. His was the first account published, but 
not long afterward appeared that of an eyewitness, "Thomas Wi- 
ars, a passenger in the Emmanuel, otherwise called the Busse of 
Bridgewater," repeated in Miller Christy's admirable little trea- 
tise on the subject.^ Wiars says they fell with Frisland (probably 
a part of Greenland) on September 8 and on September 12 
reached this new island, coasted it for parts of two days, and 
considered it 25 leagues long. There was much ice near it. He 
gives no suggestion of fertility, woods, or fields. 

2E. J. Payne, edit.: Voyages of the Elizabethan Seamen to America: Select 
Narratives from the Principal Navigations of Hakluyt, Ser. i, Hawkins, Frobisher, 
Drake, 2d edit., Oxford, 1893, P- 183. Cf. also E. W. Dahlgren's note in Proc. and 
Trans. Nova Scotian Inst, of Set., Vol. 11, 1902-06, p. 551. 

3 Miller Christy: On "Busse Island," in C. C. A. Gosch: Danish Arctic Expe- 
ditions 160S to 1620, Bk. I: Expeditions to Greenland, Hakluyt Soc. Pubis., ist 
Series, Vol. 96, London, 1897, Appendix B, pp. 164-202; reference on p. 167. 



176 



BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 




Fig. 24 — Map of Buss Island from John Seller's "English Pilot," probably 1673. 
(After Miller Christy's photographic facsimile.) 



DISAPPEARANCE FROM MAP 177 

Its Disappearance from the Map 

The only other witnesses to the visual existence of the island, 
so far as recorded, were James Hall (probably by honest mistake) 
in 1606 and Thomas Shepherd (gravely distrusted) in 1671.^ 
Nevertheless an impressive insular figure grew up in the maps, 
bearing the name "Buss" to commemorate the vessel that first 
found it. In some instances it was made a very large island 
indeed. Shepherd's map, reproduced herewith (Fig. 24), was ac- 
companied by a brief descriptive narrative which may be at- 
tributed to a fancy for yarning, with no strong curb of conscience 
on the fancy. Buss remained an accepted figure of geography for 
considerably more than a century. 

Quite naturally, however, the efforts of reliable searchers failed 
to find this island again, for it was not really there. A theory of 
cataclysm seemed more acceptable than to discard outright what 
so many maps, books, and traditions had attested. Van Keulen's 
chart of 1745^ led the way with the inscription "The submerged 
land of Buss is nowadays nothing but surf a quarter of a mile 
long with rough sea. Most likely it was originally the great island 
of Frisland." So the name "Sunken Land of Buss" passed into 
general use with geographic sanction. After much disturbance of 
mariners' and cartographers' minds not only the phantom island 
but its legacy, the supposed line of breakers and dangers, vanished 
altogether from the records. There is no "Buss" to be found on 
maps after about the middle of the nineteenth century, though 
the preceding hundred years had been prolific in them. Probably 
we must suppose a later date for the cessation of current mention 
of the sunken land of that name, in recognition of what, according 
to belief, once had been but existed (above water) no longer. 

Indeed, even after the opening of this twentieth century the 
same hypothesis has revived,^ with scientific support of a sub- 

* Miller Christy, pp. 171 and 173. 

5 Nieuwe wassende zee caart van de Noord-Oceaen, med een gedeelte van de 
Atlantische, etc., Amsterdam, 1745 (as cited by Miller Christy, op. ciU, p. 178, 
footnote i). 

« H. S. Poole: The Sunken Land of Bus, Proc. and Trans. Nova Scotian Inst, of 
Sci., Vol. II, 1902-06, pp. 193-198. See also: Sir John Murray and R. E. Peake: 



178 BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 

marine range in 53° N. and 35° W., really ocean-bottom moun- 
tains 8,000 feet high between Ireland and Newfoundland, re- 
ported upon in 1903 by Captain de Carteret of the cable ship 
Minia. They are not on the same spot and would still require a 
great lift to reach the surface. Of course their past sinking is not 
impossible, but there is no need to explain Buss by cataclysm any 
more than Mayda or Brazil Island, Drogio or Icaria. 

Islands of Demons 

Somewhat allied by nature to these reported isles of destruc- 
tion and disappearance are the islands of imported diabolism, 
appearing on maps now and then through the centuries. Bianco's 
"The Hand of Satan" (1436'^; Fig, 25), if correctly translated (see 
Ch. X, p. 156), is probably the first to present this quality. He 
locates the sinister island well to the southward; but the most 
pictorial appearance is Gastaldi's (for Ramusio) "Island of De- 
mons,"^ with its eager and capering imps at the bleak and savage 
northern end of Newfoundland. The preferred site, however, 
would seem to be yet a little farther north. Ruysch, in the map 
referred to above, which announces the burning up of Gunn- 
bjorn's skerries, exhibits two Insulae Demonium near the 
middle of the dreaded Ginnungagap passage between Labra- 
dor and Greenland. There is no suggestion of volcanic action in 
their case, and it does not appear that any real islands occupied 
the spot. The reason for the delineation and the name is still 
to seek. 

The map of 1544, attributed to Sebastian Cabot,® makes a 
single island of them, "marked Y. de Demones", and brings it 

On Recent Contributions to the Knowledge of the Floor of the Atlantic Ocean, 
Royal Geogr. Soc, London, 1904; references on pp. 8 and 10 and inset "Soundings 
Taken by S. S. Minia, 1903" of the accompanying chart. 

7 A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and 
Sailing Directions, transl. in F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 20. 

8 Justin Winsor: Cartier to Frontenac: Geographical Discovery in the Interior 
of North America In its Historical Relations, 1 534-1 700, with Full Cartographical 
Illustrations from Contemporary Sources, Boston and New York, 1894, pp. 60-61. 

9 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols, (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas, 
PI. 16. 



ISLANDS OF DEMONS 



179 



5~t7r 



:^ 



•lUjvic^ 







^•^ l^^«i^a aiTo^iDtb 



**a***^^ 











Fig. 25 — Section of the Bianco map of 1436 showing the Island of the Hand of 
Satan and Antillia. (After Kretschmer's hand-copied reproduction.) 

nearer the eastern front of Labrador below Hamilton Inlet. 
Agnese^*^ in the same century enlarges it greatly but still keeps it 
just off the Labrador coast. The Ortelius map of 1570^^ (Fig. 10) 
shows the insular haunt of devils, plural again in form and name, 
but retains approximately the site chosen by Cabot. Mercator's 
world map of 1569^ keeps the islands plural beside the upper tip 
of Newfoundland, approximating Gastaldi's position. There 



10 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 23. 

" Nordenskiold, Facsimile- Atlas, PI. 46. 

12 Drei Karten von Gerhard Mercator: Europa — Britische Inseln — Weltkarte: 
Facsimile- Lichtdruck nach den Originalen der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau, Geogr. 
Soc, Berlin, 1891; reference on Weltkarte, Pis. 3 and g. See also: [E. F.] Jomard: Les 
monuments de la geographie, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes europeennes et orientales 
. . ., Paris, [1842-62]. PI. XXI, 2. 



i8o BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 

seems to have been a pronounced and general concurrence of 
belief in diabolical evil in the northeastern coast of America, 
perhaps because it is there that the Arctic current brings down its 
tremendous freight, and tempests are at their wildest, and all 
barrenness and bleakness at their worst. 

Saintly Islands 

Much farther south, on the lines followed by Columbus and his 
Latin successors and in the tracks of vessels plying between the 
eastern Atlantic archipelagoes and the West Indies, what may 
be considered as a contrary impulse — that of exultant religious 
enthusiasm — came into play in island naming. The Island of the 
Seven Cities (Ch. V) will be recalled but needs no further 
consideration here. St. Anne, La Catholique, St. X, and Incor- 
porado (in the sense of Christ's Incarnation) are among the more 
conspicuous instances. The second-named was always in low 
latitudes. It occurs in the latitude of the tip of Florida, in mid- 
Atlantic in the Desceliers map of 1546^^ (Fig. 9); also as "La 
Catolico" on Portuguese maps, with similar situation. Desceliers 
shows Encorporade (Incorporado) about east of Cape Hatteras 
and south of western Newfoundland ; but he also has Encorporada 
Adonda not far from Nova Scotia. Thomas Hood (1592)^^ makes 
a wild and unenlightened transformation of Incorporado to 
"Emperadada" and puts it about opposite the site of Savannah, 
but not so far east as the considerable out jutting of the coast 
which must be meant for Cape Hatteras and its neighborhood. 
However, this location is not very different from that usually 
given it. Desceliers has two islands marked St. X, one being in 
the longitude of St. Michaels and latitude of Bermuda; the other 
in the longitude of eastern Newfoundland and latitude of the 
Hudson. In about the same latitude as the latter, and more 

1" Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 17. 

" Friedrich Kunstmann: Die Entdeckung Amerikas, nach den altesten Quellen 
geschichtlich dargestellt, with an atlas: Atlas zur Entdeckungsgeschichte Amerikas, 
aus Handschriften der K. Hof- und Staats-Bibliothek, der K. Universitaet und 
des Hauptconservatoriums der K. B. Armee herausgegeben von Friedrich Kunst- 
mann, Karl von Spruner, Georg M. Thomas, Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, 
Munich, 1859; reference in atlas, PI. 13. 



DACULI AND BRA i8i 

than half way between it and the Azores, an island called St, Anne 
is shown. There seems nothing real to prompt the derivation of 
these religiously named islands. Perhaps they are merely the ofT- 
spring of optical delusion, fancy, and fervor. 

Dacxjli and Bra 

On the other side of the Atlantic the much earlier map island 
Daculi must be reckoned as of kin to them, since its map legends 
deal with beneficent wonder working or magical medical aid, and 
its name may be identical with or have originated the saintly one 
which still denotes an outlying Hebridean island. Though less 
renowned than the island of Brazil and less significant, Daculi 
shares with it the record for first appearance of mythical islands 
on portolan maps. 

Dalorto's map of 1325^^ (Fig. 4) already indicated as the earliest 
one of much interest in this special regard, presents many islands 
of familiar or unfamiliar names near Ireland and Scotland. No- 
body can mistake the rightly located Man, Bofim, and Brascher 
(the Blaskets). Insula Sau must be Skye, though with the out- 
line of the Kintyre peninsula. Sialand seems to be Shetland. 
Tille may be Orkney displaced. Galuaga or Saluaga probably 
stands for the main body of the Long Island (Harris, Lewis, etc.) 
of the outer Hebrides. Bra is no doubt Barra and has generally 
been thus accepted, though out of line with Galuaga and too far 
eastward. Brazil, as already reported, is naturally farther at sea 
opposite Brascher. Finally our subject for present consideration, 
Daculi, lies off the northwestern comer of Ireland, north of 
Brazil Island and west of Bra, with which last it has in later maps 
a curious legendary association. With Insula de Montonis, as 
Brazil is also called on Dalorto's map, it may be linked in 

IS Alberto Magnaghi: La carta nautica costruita nel 1325 da Angelino Dalorto, 
with facsimile, Florence, 1898 (published on the occasion of the Third Italian Geo- 
graphical Congress). Cf. also: idem: II mappamondo del genovese Angellinus de 
Dalorto (1325): Contributo all storia della cartografia mediovale, Atti del Terzo 
Congr. Geogr. Italiano, tenuto in Firenzi dal 12 al 17 Aprile, i8q8, Florence, 1899, Vol. 
2, pp. S06-543; and idem: Angellinus de Dalorco (.sic), cartografo italiano della 
prima meta del secolo XIV, Riv. Geogr. Italiana.Vol.^., 1897. PP- 282-294 and 361-369 



i82 BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 

another way by their Italian names, for Daculi seems capable 
of that derivation, "culla" being "cradle" in that language, plural 
"culli," easily modified to "culi" by careless speech or writing. The 
introductory preposition "da" in one use has an especial relation 
to nativity; thus Zuan da Napoli means John born at Naples, 
that is John of Naples in this sense. The blending of preposition 
and noun in one word^ "Daculi," is no more than sometimes hap- 
pened on the maps to the article and noun "Li Conigi," the Rabbit 
Island, making it "Liconigi," now long known as Flores. This 
explanation would interpret Daculi as the "Island of the Cradles," 
or "Cradle Island." Some other derivation may indeed possibly 
be as defensible; but it should be borne in mind that Italian 
traders ranged very early up and down the Irish coast, and that 
name would curiously coincide with the tradition at least after- 
ward current concerning the island. 

To review a few later but still very early maps : — Dulcert, 1339/® 
shows some irrelevant changes farther north and east; but his 
Hebridean islands repeat very nearly the form given them by 
Dalorto (believed by many to be the same man), and there is no 
significant change in Bra or Daculi, though the first syllable of 
the latter becomes Di. 

The Atlante Mediceo, of 1351,^^ makes more changes than Dul- 
cert among these islands and leaves unnamed the one which by 
position seems meant for Bra, or Barra. Daculi is largely ex- 
panded and named Insul Dach indistinctly. 

The Pizigani map of 1367^® (Fig. 2) modifies many names. Daculi 
becomes Insuldacr in one word; but its place remains nearly as in 
Dalorto's map, though most of the other islands are drawn closer 
to Ireland, so that Bra is nearly stranded thereon. A line of 
inscription seems to relate to Bra — "Ich sont ysula qu — [possibly 
pronominal abbreviation] abitabi bono quo morit may." Perhaps 

« Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 8. 

1' Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio s (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano- 
Gaddiano dell' anno 135 1), PI. 4. 

18 [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes 
europeennes et orientales. . . . Paris, [1842-62], PL X, i. 



DACULI AND BRA 183 

some of these words should be read differently, and "abitabi" 
needs some recasting. I will not attempt to interpret but should 
infer that Bra had its troubles. They do not seem to have ex- 
tended to Daculi. 

Pareto's fine map of 1455^^ (Fig- 21) applies the following more 
extended and significant legend to Daculi: "Item est altera insulla 
nomine Bra in qua femine que in insulla ipsa habitant non pari- 
untur sed quando est eorum tempus pariendi feruntur foras in- 
sulla et ibi pariuntur secundum tempus." From this we may 
gather that the outer island Daculi was believed to afford especial 
aid in childbearing to wom.en carried thither after being baffled on 
the inner island Bra, and we see readily the appositeness of the 
name "cradle" applied to the former. Beccario's map of I435''^° 
(Fig. 20), though without the legend, had already adopted in 
"Insulla da Culli" almost exactly the form of the name which we 
have divined, with apparently that meaning. 

St. Kilda seems to me the most plausible original for Daculi 
that has been suggested. It is true that Barra is actually south 
of the parallel of latitude of that most lonely western sentinel of 
the Hebrides, and there is no obvious link of relation between 
them. Also the rock islet of North Barra is about as far above it, 
equally unconnected and not likely ever to have maintained much 
population. But so simple a misunderstanding on the part of the 
old cartographers would be no more than what happened to 
them all the time, and exact identity of latitude is unimportant. 
There is, in fact, no land on the site given Daculi in any of these 
old maps; and Bra, as noted, is absurdly out of place for Barra. 
How the tradition grew up we do not know. Perhaps it was some 
tale picked up by coasting Italian traders, partly misunderstood 
and passed on by them to the map-makers at home. St. Kilda, 
lost in the mists and mystery of the Atlantic, of holy name and 

IS Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 5. 

20 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei 
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche 
d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia della 
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geo- 
graphical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875; 
reference on PI. 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates). 



i84 BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 

miracle-working associations, and out of touch with most tests 
of reaUty, seems a likely place to be linked to some less abnormal 
island by a fanciful contribution of saintly white magic, a rumor 
originating nobody knows how. 

Grocland, Helluland, etc. 

On the western side of the Atlantic there are divers instances of 
island names given of old — sometimes with considerable changes 
of location, area, or outline, or of all three — to regions which we 
know quite otherwise. Some of these have been dealt with ex- 
tensively already. Greenland has a lesser neighbor, Grocland, on 
its western side in divers sixteenth-century maps ; which I take to 
be a magnified presentation of Disko or possibly a reflection of 
Bafhn Land brought near. It appears conspicuously in Mercator's 
map of the Polar basin (1569) ,2^ the Hakluyt map of 1587 illus- 
trating Peter Martyr,^^ and the map of Mathias Quadus (1608). ^^ 

This is not the place to enlarge on the Helluland, Mark- 
land, and Vinland of the Norsemen beginning with the eleventh 
century, as this theme has been dealt with elsewhere.-^ But they 
were often thought of as islands, as shown by the notice of Adam 
of Bremen. Perhaps there was never any great clearness of con- 
ception as to extent or form. But in a general way they may be 
identified respectively with northern Labrador, Newfoundland, 
and the warmer parts of the Atlantic coast. Great Iceland, or 
White Men's Land, seems also to have been understood as what 
we should now call America. Eugene Beauvois located it con- 
jecturally about the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.^^ Dr. Gus- 
tav Storm, on the other hand, thought it was merely Iceland 
misunderstood .^^ 

21 Drei Karten von Gerhard Mercator, Berlin, iSpijTeference on,WeItkarte,Pl. 13. 

22 Nordenskiold, Facsimile-Atlas, map 82 on p. 131. 

23 Ibid.. PI. 49. 

2* Early Norse Visits to North America, Smithsonian Misc. Colls., Vol. 59i No. 
19, Washington, D. C, 1913; Recent History and Present Status of the Vinland 
Problem, Geogr. Rev., Vol. 11, 1921, pp. 265-282; and Chapters VII and VIII, above. 

25 Eugene Beauvois: La d^couverte du nouveau monde par les irlandais, Nancy, 

1875. 

26 Gustav Storm: Studies on the Vineland Voyages, Mimoires Soc. Roy ale des 
Antiquaires du Nord (Copenhagen), N, S., 1884-89, pp. 307-370. 



STOKAFIXA 185 

Stokafixa 

Perhaps the latter explanation is the best yet given of the 
mysterious island Scorafixa, or Stokafixa, in Andrea Bianco's 
map of 1436.^^ It has sometimes been understood as Newfound- 
land, which bore long afterward the name Bacalaos, the equiva- 
lent in a different tongue of the northern "stockfish," our codfish. 
But it w^ould naturally be freely applied to any island in rather 
high latitudes which was conspicuous for that fishery, and Stoka- 
fixa seems near of kin to Fixlanda, which figures on divers maps 
as a combined suggestion of Iceland and the imaginary Frisland 
but with geographical features mainly borrowed from the former. 
The first-named identification may be tempting as establishing 
another pre-Columbian discovery of America, but it quite lacks 
corroboration; and Iceland was a great center of codfishery, dis- 
tributing its name and attributes rather liberally in legend and 
on the maps. Humboldt incidentally mentions "I'ile des Morues 
(lie de Stockfisch, Stokafixa)" on the seventh map of the atlas of 
Bianco, 1436. I do not clearly make out the name on T. Fischer's 
facsimile reproduction;^^ but from position and appearance the 
island seems meant for Iceland. 

Other Map Islands in the Northwestern Atlantic 

The Grand Banks and other banks of Newfoundland, with the 
Virgin Rocks and perhaps other piles or pinnacles rising from that 
bed nearly to the surface so as to be uncovered in some tides; 
Sable Island, a rather long way offshore; Cape Breton Island and 
fragments of the main shore — may be held responsible for some 
map islands such as Arredonda and Dobreton, Jacquet I., 
Monte Christo, I. de Juan, and Juan de Sampo. 

27 Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de I'histoire de la geographic du 
nouveau continent et des progres de I'astronomie nautique aux quinzieme et sei- 
zieme siecles, 5 vols., Paris, 1836-39; reference in Vol. 2, p. 107. 

^ Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni- 
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps, 
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio 9 (Facsimile dell' Atlante di Andrea Bianco 
deir anno 1436) , PI. 7. 



i86 BUSS ISLAND AND OTHERS 

There are still other islands mostly north of the latitude of 
Bermuda and between it and the Azores or northeastern America, 
but far at sea, of which one can make little, except as probably 
complimenting some pilot, skipper, or other individual, or com- 
memorating some incident which has nevertheless been generally 
forgotten. Thus Negra's Rock, which has hardly ceased to appear 
on the maps, does not really exist but may keep us in mind, by its 
rather sinister and mythical sound, that a certain Captain Negra 
once thought he saw something solid in the great liquid and re- 
ported accordingly. Of such origin, perhaps, are I. de Garcia, 
Y Neufre, Y d'Hyanestienne, Lasciennes, and divers others scat- 
tered over various maps and offering no promise of reward for 
hunting down their pedigrees or history. All these distinctly post- 
Columbian islands are quite too recent and casual to throw any 
light on the earlier historically and geographically significant 
"mythical islands" or on what these reveal. 



CHAPTER XIII 
SUMMARY 

It seems neither practicable nor desirable to recapitulate 
minutely in this final chapter the rather numerous distinctive 
features of the present work; but attention may properly be 
directed to some of its salient conclusions. In stating them posi- 
tively as below, here or elsewhere, I do not mean to be offensively 
dogmatic but to present concisely my own deductions from evi- 
dence which I have been at some pains to gather. 

Atlantis was a creation of philosophic romance, incited and 
aided by miscellaneous data out of history, tradition, and known 
physical phenomena, especially b}^ rumors of the weed-encum- 
bered windless dead waters of the Sargasso Sea. There never was 
any such gorgeous and dominant Atlantic power as the Atlantis 
of Plato, able to overrun and conquer more than half of the 
Mediterranean and contend with Athens in a struggle of life and 
death. 

St. Brendan did not cross the Atlantic nor discover any island 
in its remoter reaches, where some maps show islands bearing his 
name. He seems, however, to have visited divers eastern Atlan- 
tic islands, now well known; and it is quite likely that most of the 
portolan maps of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries are 
right in linking his name especially to Madeira and her neighbors. 

Brazil Island is a conspicuously complex problem. Probably it 
represents the region around the Gulf of St. Lawrence, brought 
on the same parallel unduly near the Irish shore. Thus under- 
stood, it would be, presumably, but not necessarily, the carto- 
graphic record of some early Irish voyage far to the westward. 
It does not appear on any extant map before 1325, but maps 
showing the Atlantic and its remoter islands (apart from the 
hopeless distortions of Edrisi and certain monks) can hardly be 
said to have existed earlier. 



i88 SUMMARY 

Man, or Mayda, is frequently a more southern and western 
companion of Brazil Island on the old maps and may stand for 
Bermuda or for some jutting point, like Cape Cod, on the 
American coast. Some indications connect it with the Bretons, 
some with the Arabs. It has borne divers names. We cannot tell 
who first found and reported it. 

The Island of the Seven Cities derived its name from a very 
credible Spanish and Portuguese tradition of escape from the 
Moors by sea early in the eighth century. It may first have been 
localized as St. Michaels of the Azores, where a valley still bears 
the name. Afterward it was confused for a long time with Antillia 
and still later was distributed rather widely over sea and land, the 
Seven Cities not always insisting on being insular but appearing 
now just back of the American Atlantic coast line, now in the far 
and arid Southwest. 

Of the Norse discoveries in America at the opening of the 
eleventh century, Helluland represents the northern treeless waste 
of upper Labrador and beyond ; Markland represents the forested 
zone next below, notably Newfoundland, with probably southern 
Labrador supplying only timber and game; and Vinland, or 
Wineland, represents all that immense region where the climate 
was milder and wine grapes grew. Straumey was Grand Manan 
Island; Straumfiord, Passamaquoddy Bay wdth Grand Manan 
Channel; Hop, Mount Hope Bay, R. I., or some bay of the 
eastern front of southern New England; the Wonderstrands, 
some part of the prevalent American coastal front of unending 
strand and dune. It is needless to particularize further. 

Antillia is Cuba; Reylla, Jamaica; Salvagio, or Satanaxio, 
Florida; I in Mar, one or more of the Bahamas. Early in the 
fifteenth century some Iberian navigator, probably Portuguese, 
visited these islands and made the report that resulted in the 
addition of these islands to divers maps. They, in turn, were 
am.ong the inciting causes of the undertaking of Columbus. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Adam of Bremen, io6; on Greenland, 94 

Anghiera. See Martyr, Peter 

Animal and bird names, 44 

Antela, 149 

Antiglia, map opp. 74, 75, 147 

Antilles, 144; identity with Antillia, 162 

Antillia, 188; as an early map item, 144; 
Atlantis and, 148; on Beccario map 
of 1426, 151; on Beccario map of 
143s. 70, 151; on Benincasa map of 
1482, 70, 159; on Bianco map of 
1436, 156; Humboldt's hypothesis 
of origin of name, 148; identity 
with the Antilles, 162; on Laon 
globe of 1493, 161; of the mainland, 
147; Martyr's (Peter) identifica- 
tion, 145; origin of the name, 148; 
other identifications, 146; on Pareto 
map of 145s. 157; on Roselli map of 
1468, 155; on Ruysch map of 1508, 
145; Seven Cities (island) and. 69, 
188; spelling of the word, 146; 
unnaentioned on certain notable 
maps, 161; on Weimar map. T50, 
159 

Arctic monastery, 136-137, 138 

Ari Frode, loi 

Ama-Magnaean MS. No. 194, 116, 119 

Arna-Magnaean MS. No. 557, on 
Markland, 115 

Athens and Atlantis, i, 33 

Atlantic continental mass, theory of 
Termier, 19 

Atlantic submarine banks, 24 

Atlantis, Antillia and, 148; improbabil- 
ity of existence, 18; invasion of the 
Mediterranean, 16; location and 
size, 17; Plato's account, 3, 11, 32, 
187; Sargasso Sea as, 29; sub- 
mergence, question of, 22; Termier 
on, 14 

Avezac, M. A. P. d', 8, 114 

Avienus, 27 

Ayala, Pedro de, 65, 68 

Azores, description, 164; floral and 
faunal indications of mainland con- 
nection, 21; Maydaand,92; names 
of islands, 21; occurrence of name 
"Seven Cities" in, 78; two series on 
Bianco map of 1448, 122 



Babcock, W. H., "Early Norse Visits," 
6, 115, 172, 184; "Indications of 
Visits," 46, 57, 71, 86, ISO 

BafiEin Land, iii, 184 

Bahamas, 155, 163, 188 

Barra, 181, 183 

Basques, 8 

Beauvois, Eugene, 131, 184 

Beccario map of 1426, Antillia on, 151; 
reproduction of a photographed 
section (ill.), opp. 45; St. Brendan's 
Islands on, 45 

Beccario map of 143S, Antilles, four 
islands, on, 153; Antillia on, 70, 
151, 153; Daculi on, 183; reproduc- 
tion of section (ill.), 152 

Behaim globe of 1492, St. Brendan's 
Islands on, 47 

Benedict, R. D., 38 

Benincasa map of 1482, Antillia on, 70, 
159; reproduction of section (ill.), 
160 

Beothuks, 123, 131 

Bermuda and Mayda, 93, 188 

Bianco map of 1436, Antillia on, 156; 
reproduction of section (ill.), 179; 
Stokafixa on, 185 

Bianco map of 1448, St. Brendan's 
Islands on, 46; two series of Azores, 
122 

Bimini (Beimini), 146 

Bird names, 44 

Birds, isle of, 166 

Blaskets, 181 

Blunt, E. M., 91 

Bold, Captain, 170 

Book of the Spanish Friar, 44, 55, 92, 
165; on the Azores, 165 

Bourne, E. G., 55 

Bra, 181 

Brazil (island), on Catalan map of I37S, 
58; on Catalan map of about 1480, 
61; on Dalorto map of 1325, 50, 56; 
121; early maps, occurrence, 55, 
location and shape, 57; in place of 
Markland, 121; Mayda and, 83; 
on Nicolay map of 1560, 61, 121; 
Norse and Irish om.ission of name, 
66; St. Lawrence, Gulf of, and, 59, 
187; Seven Cities (island) and, 68; 



192 



LEGENDARY ISLANDS 



Brazil (continued) 

on Sylvanus map of 1511, 65; two on 
the same map, 121-122 

Brazil (word), derivation, 50, 52; 
spellings, 50; various applications, 
121 

Brendan (Brandan; Brenainn), St., 
adventures, Lismore verson, 34; 
explanations of Brendan narratives, 
35; exploration 34, 48, 187; prob- 
able basis of fact in narratives, 38 

Brendan's (St.) Islands, 34; on Beccario 
map of 1426, 45; on Behaim globe 
of 1492, 47; on Bianco map of 1448, 
46; on Dulcert map of i339. 42; 
Hereford map testimony, 38; on 
later maps, 48; on the Pizigani map 
of 1367, 43 

Bretons, exploration, 8, 84 

Brown, A. S., 78 

Buache, N., 78 

Bullar, Joseph and Henry, 79 

Buss Island, 174, disappearance from 
map, 177; discovery, 175; map (ill.), 
176 

Cabot, John, 10, 55 

Canary Islands, mainland connection, 

question of , 21 ; tradition concerning 

St. Brendan, 39 
Canerio map, 146 
Cape Breton, 118-119, 127, 132, i35. 

185; Mayda and, 92, 93 
Cape Cod, Mayda and, 92, 188 
Capmany Antonic de, 54 
Carthaginians, Corvo and, 167; statues 

and coins, 169 
Cartier, Jacques, 59 
Cartwright, George, 123 
Catalan map of 1375, Brazil (island) on, 

58; Mayda on, 84; reproduction 

(ill.). 58 
Catalan map of about 1480, Brazil 

(island) on, 61; Fixlanda (Iceland) 

on, 141; Greenland on, 62, 96, 120; 

reproduction of section (ill.), 64 
Catholique, La, 180 
Cerne, 27 
Chau Ju-Kua, 2 
Chesapeake Bay, 119 
Christy, Miller, 175, 176, 177 
Churchill Collection, 140 
Clavus map of 1427, Greenland on, 

105, 139; reproduction of section 

(ill.), 104 



Coins found in Corvo, 167 

Columbus, Christopher, 10 

Columbus, Ferdinand, "Life of Chris- 
topher Columbus," 69, 71, 140, 144 

Conigi, Li, 8, 165, 172, 182 

Coombs, Captain, 100 

Coppo map of 1528, Greenland on, 96; 
reproduction (ill.), 97 

Corvo, 22; ancient memorials, 166; 
comparative representations on 
maps (ill.), 172; equestrian statues, 
168; Mayda and, 92, origin of 
name, 164; Pizigani map of 1367 
and, 168 

Cuba, 153. 162, 163, 188 

Daculi, 181; on Pareto map of 1455, 183 

Dalorto map of 1325, Brazil (island) on, 
50, 56, 121; mythical islands on, 
181; reproduction (iU.), 51 

Dawson, S. E., 48 

Demons, 37. 89; islands of, 178 

Desceliers map of 1546, Greenland on, 
99; Mayda on, 87, reproduction of 
section (ill.), 76; saintly islands on, 
180; Seven Cities (island) on, 75 

Devil Rock, 91 

Diodorus Siculus, i, 4, 16, 42, i65 

Disko, 184 

Dragons, 37, 83, 149 

Drogio, first mention, 124, 127; mean- 
ing, 133; region designated, 132; 
spelling, 132; on Zeno mapof 1558, 
126 

Dulcert map of 1339. St. Brendan's 
Islands on, 42 

Edrisi, "Geography," 7, 39, 166, 168; 

on the isle of birds, 166 
Egerton MS. 2803. See World map in 

portolan atlas of about 1508 
Emmanuel (ship), 175 
Emperadada, Encorporada, Encorpo- 

rade (Incorporado), 180 
Equestrian statues, 168 
Eric the Red, loi, 108, 109, 115 
Eskimos, no, in 
Espinosa, Alonso de, 39 
Esthlanda, 131 
Estotiland, 122; derivation, conjectures, 

130; first mention, 124, 127; on 

Prunes map of 1553, 131; region 

designated, 130; on Zeno map of 

1558, 126 
Estotilanders, 131 



INDEX 



193 



Faria y Sousa, Manuel de, 73; on Corvo, 

169 
Fischer, Joseph, 61, 105, 116, 139 
Fischer, Theobald, 44, 45, 46, 47, 56, 57, 

84, 86, 92, 114, 122, 147, 161, 165, 

172, 182, 185 
Fixlanda, 96, 185; on Catalan map of 

1480, 141 
Flores, 8, 171, 172, 182, 
Florida, 146, 155, 163, 188 
Formaleoni, Vicenzio, 148 
Fortunate Islands, 38, 39. See also 

Brendan's (St.) Islands 
Freducci, Conde, 150 
Frisland, 136, 175. 185; Buss Island 

and, 177; confusion with Iceland, 

141; occiurence of name, 140; on 

Zeno map of 1558, 141 

Galvano, Antonio, 72 

Germain, Louis, 21 

Germanus, Donnus Nicolaus, world 
map (after 1466), Greenland on, 105, 
139; reproduction of section (ill.), 
opp. 105 

Ginnungagap, 178 

Gnupsson, Eric, 109 

Gosch, C. C. A., 17s 

Grand Banks, 185 

Grand Manan, 188 

Great Abaco, 155, 162-163 

Great Iceland, 184 

Greeks, early exploration, 4 

Green Island, 95; on sixteenth-century 
maps, 97; various islands; shrinkage 
of the name, 99 

Greenland, Adam of Bremen's account, 
94; on Catalan map of about 1480, 
62, 96, 120; on Clavus map of 1427, 
105, 139; on Coppo map of 1528, 
96; on Desceliers map of 1546, 99; 
on Germanus (D. N.) map, 105, 139; 
insular character, 95; intercom'se 
with Markland, 119; life of Icelandic 
colony, 106; on Nicolay map of 1560, 
98; Norse settlements, 137; Norse 
settlements (with map), 103; origin 
of name, loi; on Ortelius map of 
1570, 99; as a peninsula, 105; on 
Sigurdr Stefansson map, 106; 
Thorlaksson map of 1606 (ill.), 98; 
on Zeno map of 1558, 105, 139 

Greenlanders, early explorations, 109 

Grocland, 184 

Gunnbjorn's skerries, 174 



Haiti, 162 

Hall, James, 177 

Hand of Satan, 156, 178 

Hardiman, James, 50 

Harrisse, Henry, 144 

Hauk's Book on Markland, 1 14 

Hebrides, 181, 182, 183 

Helluland, 115, 116, 188 

Henriques, Borges de F., 171, 173 

Hereford map of 1275, St. Brendan's 
Islands on, 38 

Himilco, 27 

Holmes, W. H., 3 

Hood, Thomas, 180 

Hovgaard, William, on Icelandic settle- 
ment of Greenland, 102, 109, no, 
IIS, 116; suggestion of two Wine- 
lands, 119 

Humboldt, Alexander von, on Antillia. 
148; on Bianco map of 1436, 137; 
on Corvo, 167; "Examen critique," 
37, 52, 55. 78, 81, 148, 167. 169, 185 

Hydrographic Office, 30, 31, 32 

I in Mar, 155, 188 

Icaria, 136; on Zeno map of 1558, 142 

Iceland, confusion on maps, 141; 
Great Iceland, 184; Greenland dis- 
covery and relations, loi; on Zeno 
map of 1558, 141 

Ilia Verde, 96, See also Greenland 

Imagination in cartography, 143 

Incorporado, 180 

Ireland, submerged lands about, 25 

Irish sea-roving, 5 

Island of the Seven Cities. See Seven 
Cities (island) 

Islands, cataclysms, 174; various 
mythical and scattered, 174 

Italians, exploration, 8 

Jamaica, 163, 188 
Janvier, T. A., 30 
Jomard, E. F., 8, 30, 43. 55, 70, 83, 147, 

149, 166, 179, 182 
Jomard, E. F., 8 
Jonsson, Finnur, 102-103 
Jowett, Benjamin, 11, 18 

Karlsefni, Thorfinn, 109, 115, 116; 

geography of narrative and later 

records, 117 
Kilda, St., 142, 183 
Kjalarness, 116, 118 
Kohl, J. G.. 139 



194 



LEGENDARY ISLANDS 



Kohl collection, 57, 85 

Krakens, 149 

Kretschmer, Konrad, 45, 48, 57, 58, 60, 

61, 69, 70, 7Si 82, 84, 86, 87, 96, 97. 

98, 99, 105, 114, 117. 121, 131, 

132, 140, 146, 157, 159, 162, 172, 

178, 179, 180, 183 
Kriimmel, Otto, 30 
Kunstmann, Friedrich, 146, 180 

Labrador as Markland, 117 
La Catholique, 180 
La Man Satanaxio, 156, 178 
Laon globe of 1493, Antillia on, 161 
Ivegname, 8, 114 
Leif Ericsson, 109 
Li Conigi, 8, 165, 172. T82 
Lismore, Book of, 34 
Lucas, F. W., 122, 125; on Drogio, 133; 
on the Zeno narrative, 137, 138 

Madeira Islands, as the Fortunate 
Islands of St. Brendan, 42; name, 44, 
114 
Magnaghi, Alberto, 50, 69, 121, 181 
Major, R. H., 122, 124, 129; study of 

the Zeno narrative, 136 
Malte-Brun, Conrad, 167 
Man or Mam, 83. See also Mayda 
Maps (ills.). Beccario of 1426, opp. 45; 
Beccario of 1435, 152; Benincasa of 
1482, 160; Bianco of 1436, 179; 
Buss Island of 1673, 176; Catalan 
of 1375, 58; Catalan of about 1480, 
64; Clavus of 1427, 104; Coppo of 
1528, 97; Corvo representations, 
172; Dalorto of 1325, 51; Desceliers 
of 1546, 76; Egerton MS. 2803, opp. 
74; Germanus (D. N.), after 1466, 
opp. 105; Greenland, Norse settle- 
ments, 103; Nicolay of 1560, 62; 
Ortelius of 1570, 77; Pareto of 1455. 
158; Pizigani of 1367, 40-41; Ptol- 
emy of 1513, 82; Prunes of 1553, 88; 
Sargasso Sea, 28; Stefansson of 
1590, 107; Thorlaksson of 1606, 98; 
Zeno of 1558, 126 
Marco Polo, S3 

Markland, Brazil (island) in place of, 
121; Hauk's Book account, 114; 
intercourse with Greenland, 119; 
Labrador as, 117; name, 114; New- 
foundland as, 114, 188; Nova Scotia 
as, 118; on Sigurdr Stefansson map, 
116; Zeno narrative and, 122 



Martyr, Peter, d'Anghiera, "Dec- 
ades," 14s; identification of Antillia, 
145 

Mayda, Azores and, 92; basis of fact 
about, 91, 188; Brazil (island) and, 
83; on Catalan map of 1375, 84; 
"Man" and, 84; modern maps, 
persistence on, 90; name, spelling 
and origin, 81; on Ortelius map of 
1570, 90; on Pizigani map of 1367, 
83; on Prunes map of 1553, 87; 
problem of, 81; on Ptolemy map of 
1513, 82; transference, on maps, to 
American waters, 87; Vlaenderen 
and, 89 

Mediterranean Sea, Atlantean invasion, 
16 

Mercator, Gerhard, world map cf 1569, 
125, 179, 184 

Miller, Konrad, 39 

Minia (ship), 178 

Monastery in the Arctic, 136-137. 13S 

Montonis, 56, 181 

Moorish voyages, 7 

Alorewood. S., 168 

Mount Hope Bay, 188 

Muratori, L. A., 53 

Murray, Sir John, 24; on the Sargasso 
Sea, 31 

Murray, Sir John, and R. E. Peake, 177- 
178 

Nansen, Fridtjof, 27, 29, 60, 61, 94, loi, 
117 

Navarro, L. F., 22 

Navigation, early obstruction, 27 

Negra's Rock, 90, 91, 175, 186 

Neome (Fair Island), 136, 140 

Newfoundland, 185; as Markland, 114, 
117; on Nicolay map of 1560, 132 

Nicolay map of 1560, Brazil (island) on, 
61, 121; Greenland on, 98; Mayda on 
87; Newfoundland on, 132; repro- 
duction of section (ill.), 62 

Nordenskiold, A. E., on Antillia, 144; 
"Bidrag," 61, 96, 120, 139. 141; 
"Facsimile-Atlas," i, 48, 71, 75. 90. 
99. 105. 125, 14s, 161, 174. 179. 184; 
"Periplus," 27, 42, 56, 57. 08. 60, 61, 
69, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 98, 114, 121, 
132, 139, 145, 150, 156, 165, 172, 
178, 182; on the Weimar map, 150 

Norsemen, early exploration, 5; early 
settlements in Greenland, 103 (with 
map), 137; Eskimos and, iii 

Nova Scotia as Markland, iiS 



INDEX 



195 



Olsen, J. E., 55 

Ortelius map of 1570, demon islands on, 

179; Greenland on, 99; Mayda on, 

90; reproduction of section (ill.). 

77; Seven Cities (island) on, 75; 

Zeno additions on, 125 

Pareto map of 1455, Antillia on, IS7; 
Daculi on, 183; reproduction of sec- 
tion (ill.), 158 

Payne, E. J., 175 

Perseus, 16, 17 

Peter Martyr. See Martyr, Peter 

Phoenicians, Corvo and, 167; early 
explorations, i, 3 

Pizigani map of 1367, Corv'o and, 168; 
Daculi and Bra on, 182; Mayda on, 
83; reproduction (ill.), 40-41; St. 
Brendan's Islands on, 43 

Plato on Atlantis, 3. n. 32, 187 

Podolyn, Johan, 167 

Poole, H. S., 177 

Porlanda (Pomona), 136, 140 

Porto Rico, 162 

Porto Santo, 43 

Portuguese- discovery, 9; refugees and 
Seven Cities island), 71 

Promontorium Vinlandiae. 118, 119 

Prunes map of 1553, Estotiland on, 
131; Mayda on, 87, reproduction of 
section (ill.), 88; Zeno islands on, 
140 

Ptolemy map of 1513, Mayda on, 82; 
reproduction of section (ill.), 82 

Ravenstein, E. G., 47, 71, 105, 143 

Reeves, A. M., 115, 116, 131 

Reylla, 188; on Bsccario map of I435. 
154; on Roselli map of 1468, 155 

Rink, Henry, on Greenland, 102, 104 

Robert, M., 90 

Rockall, 91, 100 

Rocks, sunken, 91, 100 

Romans, early exploration, 5 

Roselli map of 1468, Antillia on, 15s 

Runic inscription in Greenland, 109- 
iio 

Ruysch map of 1508, Antillia inscrip- 
tion, 145; island destroyed by com- 
bustion, 174 

St. Anne, 180, 181 
St. Brendan. See Brendan 
St. Kilda, 142, 183 

St. Lawrence, Gulf of, possible identifi- 
cation of Brazil (island) with, 59 



St. Michael, (Azores), 78. 16S, 169, 

188 
St. X, 180 
Saintly islands, 180 
Salvagio, 188; on Beccario map of 

^435. 154 
Santarem, M. P., 52. 140 
Sargasso Sea, 3, 18, 187; as Atlantis, 29; 

map (ill.), 28 
Satanaxio, 156, 178, 188 
Scandinavians. See Norsemen 
Schartf, R. F., 21 
Schott, Gerhard, 30 
Schuchert, Charles, 23 
Schuller, Rudolph, 13 
Scorafixa, 185 
Scjdax of Caryanda, 27 
Seller, John, 176 
Seven Cities (island), 68, 188; Antillia 

and, 69; Brazil (island) and, 68; 

on Desceliers map of 1546, 75; 

home of Portuguese refugees, 71; 

later reappearance as an island, 75; 

mainland location, 74; name in 

the Azores, 78; on Ortelius map of 

1570, 75 
Shepherd, Thomas, 177 
Shetland, 131, 181 
Ships, early, 2 
Skraelings, iii 
Solberg, T., 57. 161 
Soley, J. C, 30, 31 
Spanish Friar. See Book of the Spanish 

Friar 
Stefansson (Sigurdr) map of 1590 (?), 

Greenland on, 106; Helluland, 

Markland, and Vinland on, 116; 

reproduction (ill.), 107 
Stevens, John, 73 
Stevenson, E. L., "Atlas of Portolan 

Charts," 74, 141, 147; "Facsimiles of 

Portolan Charts," 57. 86, 155; "Maps 

Illustrating Early Discovery," 117, 

140; "Marine World Chart of 

Nicolo de Canerio Jannensis," 146; 

"Portolan Charts," 27 
StokafLxa, 185 
Stokes, Whitley, 34 
Storm, Gustav, iii, 184 
Strabo, 42, 169 
Straumey, 188 
Straumfiord, 188 
Submarine banks, 24 
Sylvanus map of 1511, Brazil (island) 

on, 65 



196 



LEGENDARY ISLANDS 



Tachylyte, 23 

Termier, Pierre, on Atlantis, 14; theory 

of ancient Atlantic continent, 19, 21, 

23 
Thevet, Andre, 169 
Thorlaksson map of 1606, reproduction 

(iU.), 98 
Tobago, 99 
Torfaeus' "Gronlandia," 06-97, 98, 

106, 107, 116 
Toscanelli, Paolo, 69, 144 
Trouveres, 36 
TuUoch, Captain, 100 

Uzielli, Gustavo, 45, 57. 70, 86, 151, 
172, 183 

Valsequa map of 1439, 57 

Van Keulen's chart of 1795, 177 

Vespucius, 10 

Vignaud, Henry, "Columbian Tradi- 
tion," 10; on the Toscanelli letter, 
_ 144 

Vinland, 188; Hovgaard's suggestion, 
119 

Vlaenderen and Mayda, 89 

Weare, G. E., 68 

Weimar map (after 148 1), Antillia on, 
ISO, 159 



Westropp, T. J., "Brasii," 26, 34, 36, 
60, 61, 96; "Early Italian maps," 54; 
on submerged lands near Iceland, 25 

Wiars, Thomas, 175 

Wineland the Good, 116. See also Vin- 
land 

Winsor, Justin, 59, 60, 65, 85, 89, 132, 
178 

Wonderstrands, 116, 188 

World map in portolan atlas of about 
1508, Antiglia on, 147; Iceland on, 
141; reproduction of section (ill.), 
opp. 74; Seven Cities (island) on, 74 

Yule, Sir Henry, 53 

Zaltieri map of 1566, 61, 87, 98, 132 

Zeno, Antonio and Nicolo, 9, 124 . 

Zeno, Nicolo, the younger, 124, 134, 
135. 143 

Zeno map of 1558, Finland and Iceland 
on, 141; Greenland on, 105, 139; 
Icaria on, 142; reproduction (ill.). 
126 

Zeno narrative, account of the book, 
124; brief summarj', 135; discrepan- 
cies of the fisherman's story, 133; 
geographical implication, 129; Lu- 
cas' study, 137; Major's study, 136; 
Markland and, 122; narrative 
quoted, 128 



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Babcock, William Henry 

Legendary islands of the Atlantic; a stu 



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